Book Review – Why Induction Matters, by Dr Rachel Reed
This review was submitted by Ashleigh Rankin, Doula
Why Induction Matters was written by Dr Rachel Reed as a part of the ‘Why it Matters’ series published by Pinter & Martin. In a world where there is an overwhelming amount of information available at our fingertips, the purpose of this series is to provide parents with clear, evidence-based information to assist with decision making. Rachel Reeds contribution certainly fits these criteria.
Why Induction Matters specifically provides information around induction of labour and includes firsthand experiences from parents who have been faced with decisions regarding induction as well as the induction process.
With the rate of induction on the rise, this book is a must have for all birth workers and parents.
Dr Reed first takes us through the basics of decision making. While this may initially seem to come naturally, this section of the book challenges us to truly look at the information provided and take control by asking the right questions. As mentioned by Helen, one of the parents featured in the book, obstetricians may only provide information that will help a parent to make a decision that is more convenient for the OB. Rachel Reed provides the questions to ask to ensure that you receive the full picture before making a decision.
Now that we have a firm foundation for decision making, we are then taken through the conditions and variations of pregnancy that are likely to bring up the conversation of induction. Dr Reed gives the risks of each condition so that the reader can understand why induction may be suggested. She also provides the benefits of induction where applicable or alternative ways of managing the variation.
Before we go on a deep dive through the steps and details of an induced labour, we are provided with the process of a spontaneous labour as a baseline of information. This is such an important part of Why Induction Matters, as many women are not taught the process of a spontaneous labour and a lack of education leaves far too much room for fear to take control. By understanding spontaneous labour, we are more likely to make confident and holistic decisions.
Rachel Reed then breaks down the full process of induction into three parts:
Ripening the cervix, including the different methods used to ripen the cervix, why they are needed, the risks and benefits of each and what happens if they do not work.
Breaking the waters, how it’s done and what to expect.
Inducing contractions with synthetic oxytocin – Rachel goes into detail about what synthetic oxytocin is and how it differs from natural oxytocin. She also explains the risks of using synthetic oxytocin which are so often dangerously brushed over in consultations. This information is extremely important when it comes to making a decision around each individual’s circumstance.
Why Induction Matters then takes us through some alternative methods of induction as well as some of the old wives’ tales that many of us have heard and tried. We get to find out why they became a suggestion in the first place and are able to determine whether they are actually safe for us to try.
Finally, Rachel Reed wraps all of the information together and gives examples of what we may ask for in a birth plan to prepare for induction of labour. Often when writing birth plans, we’re inclined to deny that things won’t go to plan and therefore leave out information surrounding the what-ifs. While this is done with the intention of only thinking positively, it can actually have the opposite impact, leaving you unprepared and panicked. Having a plan in place allows you to face uncertainties with confidence.
Why Induction Matters reduces the fear of the unknown by going through the steps of induction of labour, the risks and benefits of the processes, and the inevitable cascade of intervention. Many women fear this phrase as it carries negative connotations. But as Rachel explains in her Author’s Note, ‘an empowering birth experience is not necessarily about the type of labour a woman has. It is about the woman’s sense of power and her ability to make decisions about what happens to her.’
Personally, Why Induction Matters was an extremely healing and validating read having had my first labour induced with minimal explanation. For years I wondered what I could have done differently, or why my body wasn’t able to progress through labour. Three years after my experience I listened to Rachel Reed give a presentation on Why Induction Matters, and it felt like she was speaking directly with me, I was finally given answers and finally allowed myself to forgive my body. Having said that, reading this book after a negative birth experience could also be quite confronting and caution should be taken if you are still working through the emotions of a difficult birth experience. In a system that runs at a high and overwhelming speed, it is imperative that we have the opportunity to sit down and go through your options and hear all of the relevant information. Thankfully, when the maternity system isn’t able to meet this need, Rachel Reed bridges this gap by providing clear and concise information as well as resources and further reading.
If Knowledge is Power, then Rachel Reed has provided families everywhere with immense power by writing Why Induction Matters for us.
My name is Ashleigh Rankin of Surrender Birth Services. I am a qualified doula who has trained at the Doula Training Academy.
If you would like more information about my doula services, please contact me:
0423 740 321