Natural labour seems rare?: Hi ladies, I just had a... - NCT


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Natural labour seems rare?

Dancing_doris profile image

Hi ladies, I just had a thought from reading all your posts, almost everyone coming to term is discussing sweeps, inductions etc. It seems far more common than baby just arriving when it wants, naturally, but I realise this isn't a cross-section of all births. It just seems heavily weighted to needing assistance. What's made this such a standard practice? Also, do you have to have them? Can you decline and let nature take its course? Is that just too dangerous now to wait too long? I'm naive, I haven't been through it and I know you'll probably tell me I'll be begging for any help to get labour to begin!

18 Replies

Hi hun all my labours and births have been natural :-) my third baby was overdue by 10days I declined a sweep and he made hisaappearance when he was ready :-) you can say no to any medical intervention but if id gone to 12days over I personally would have gone to be induced but you dont have to be. I think they offer induction when overdue as placenta doesn't work as well after a certain point and sometimes induction offered if baby not growing well or other medical reasons xxx

Lol. Oh you can certainly decline sweeps and the like. And inductions to an extent as well. The placenta begins to deteriorate after 42 weeks which is the reason they tend to induce you then if it's necessary. I so would have loved my boy to come completely naturally and without intervention but he obviously had issues with this idea lol. See how you go, it's not naive to think you don't want to interfere with nature. If you need assistance to get it started, then you'll know and want it lol. If not, you'll be one of the chosen ones and I'll be jealous ;-) lol x

Hey!! So long as you are having a "normal" low risk pregnancy, there is no reason why you should have a sweep if you don't want one! Some ladies get so uncomfortable by 39/40 weeks they really want to try a sweep to get things going!

As for induction, like the others said its due to the placenta deteriorating so it is advised if you really go over due.

My Labour started all by it self :) xx

I had a natural birth.. 3 days over due but no intervention. if I can remember if ur overdue and ur low risk then u can decline any sweeps etc and u get monitored by ur mw but I dont kno hpw long they leave u and lets b honest if u were a baby and u were all warm inside and then u had to b forced into this cold environment u wud probably put up a fight x

i wanted all natural no painkiller, no intervention, well my son had different ideas, i went into labor at 33w. he done poo inside me and i had to have a drip to get contractions going. i was good without any painkilers for a while, but when contractions was every 5 mins i took gas and after 5 hours i wanted something stronger. after 22h when doctor said i was only 5 cm dialated i was screaming for epidural even thou i knew i was not getting as i have spinal injury. with this pregnancy i am taking everything that i can have, and would love to get sweep or to be induces as too tired and in too much pain to wait another 4w.


Im a mother of 2 children & even though I heard just about a million times "every child is different" whilst pregnant with my last ( now 2 months old) i can honestly say its 100% true.

when i was pregnant with my 1st child ( back in 2008) he decided to be very stubborn despite getting quite strong contractions for about 2 wks before his birth.

whilst waiting for his appearance I was offered 2 "sweeps" but thankfully only got the 1 as he eventually decided to start the ball rolling.

I didn't notice it then but i may have also being a bit lazy during the last few wks of my 1st pregnancy as all i would do is stay in bed till about 12 noon every day then maybe go out for a few hours to visit a friend or something.

My 2nd pregnancy however was totally different & I even went into labour a few days earlier than expected. really not sure why but my guess is due to being alot more active (as I obviously have 1 child already to look after) but i can honestly also say I had alot more confidence with this last pregnancy too to know that I may be able to avoid a sweep.


I've been sure throughout my pregnancy that I wouldn't want a sweep or induction, but I'm 38 weeks now, very large (41cm at 36 weeks) and in so much pain that I'd jump if offered. But the midwife (quite rightly) says I should hang in there. So basically, my advice is try not to make hard and fast rules, and just cope with things as they happen.

in reply to scoffcat

Very good advice scoffcat!! pregnancy and birth is so unpredictable, plans go way out of the window most of the time!!!

Thank you, I really appreciate the feedback! I hadn't really read up on anything about why they'd do an induction, but it does make sense if the placenta is going to deteriorate. Abenaa I think the link between you being more active too the second time around was interesting, I'll make sure to plan in lots of floor scrubbing and daily walks if I can bear it! Difficult to imagine how I'll be feeling that far away still! Good to hear some positive stories of things going naturally, but although I'd like it to kick off that way I see you rarely have actual control over anything birth related! :)

in reply to Dancing_doris

I,ll admit it was bloody difficult espicially during those last few weeks but even though ive never experienced it ive heard being induced is no walk in the park so if needed take that long, brisk walk


I've noticed this too. While I was in hospital just after my son was born I found out that most the other babies were c-sections. I was induced because I was at week 41 and he was 10lbs when he was born. Worst time of my life and thanks to the hospitals negligence after 18 hours of agony and fainting twice even though I have a high pain threshold, I still had to have a section because he was the wrong was around and was too big to turn over. So my advise is make sure you keep records and learn what you can so you can make sure the "professionals", including your midwife, are doing everything they can for you and don't be afraid to check.

I saw my consultant and she asked me to get my MW to do a sweep which she refused, a week later I went back and it was a different MW, she told me cervix was too far back and she couldn't do it. I had also been booked in for induction at exactly week 40...due to maternal age. I visited ANDU as I thought I had lost waters at 39+6, they said intact, I got a good sweep then, was effacing & 1-2cm dilated so hopeful and said I didn't want Induction the following day, It was 'agreed' they would let me go to 40+6. I went back for my 40+2 sweep and they wouldn't do it as my baby HR high, I stayed at ANDU all day and then I agreed to Induction. I felt that when I was originally booked in it was based on statistics not me as a patient X

At 39+6 I was offered a sweep at 41wks if baby had still not arrived and told that they would induce at 42 weeks if no sign. I didn't have to agree t the sweep (not sure bout induction) but like alot of ladies have said at this point I just wanted to get things started. Turns out I went in 2 labour naturally at 40+1 so didnt need any kind of kick start. My advise would be as open minded as possible and go with the flow birth/pregnancy/being a mum is definetly an experience like no other! So hard to prepare just do what feels rogt at the time :)

Interestingly, in the UK you are given your due date at 40 weeks, whereas my friend in France was given a date at 41 weeks, but they still induce at 42 weeks, so maybe fewer babies are "late" in France but they still recognise that the placenta starts to deteriorate at 42 weeks. My nan (88 years old now) let her son go over 42 weeks and he came out really dry, he was huge as well nearly 11lbs, although a natural home birth and he's fine, a different world back then, she was naive!

I guess people ask questions on here about inductions, sweeps because that's what they are worried about, so that's the responses you get!

My labour started naturally at 40+2 according to the hospital scan date, but 39+4 according to my dates. I was taking raspberry leaf capsules (I don't think I could drink enough of the tea version for it to be effective), having as much sex as felt comfortable and went for a walk most days (did a 45-50 minute walk into town and back on the day labour started, not pretending it was easy or comfortable - its only a 25 minute walk normally). So I was trying to encourage baby using more natural methods, when you hit 40 weeks you will just want to meet your baby ASAP! Some hospitals (we've moved and my local one here is included) now offer alternative forms of induction such as acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy - if yours doesn't you can still find practitioners that do it privately. Good luck!

I went in to labour naturally with both my kiddos (although first ended in section). I am 39 weeks with number 3 and have been offered a sweep for Tuesday, not sure I will take it though.

My understanding is that they will let you go to 41+5 or twelve days overdue and then suggest induction, it used to be ten days but too many women were being induced. Going to 42 weeks is new to me and I would be scared to be left that long because of previous experience and wonder if ten days is enough. Twelve days was certainly standard at my hospital 16 months ago.

Hi, my first baby went over by 8 days,I was offered and accepted a sweep at 40+6. That was the only part of my labour that wasn't a natural delivery. I had my little boy in the birthing pool at my local hospital with just a midwife and my OH there. When our 9lb 14 boy was born he broke the waters around him on his way out so was told by Midwife that I would have probably needed an induction had I not had the sweep to get things moving. You'll know what is right for you when the time comes and can turn down anything you're not comfortable with. Hope everything goes smoothly for you :-) xxx

Hi Doris, I don't know how far along you are but the earlier in your pregnancy you start asking 'do I have to...' the better as far as I am concerned! You don't have to have a sweep and you don't have to be induced... or do anything else you are 'advised' to do. Of course most of the time there are good reasons for medical advice but it can be naive to assume that the desire of medical professionals to avoid being sued doesn't create a 'one size fits all' attitude. The natural length of one pregnancy and another varies and the placenta generally keeps going as long as it is needed - there is a slight rise in risk of placental insufficiency after 42 weeks (though this does unfortunately happen for a very small number of women well before this point too) but the alternative to having an induction of labour isn't necessarily waiting indefinitely. Women are supposed to be offered an even handed choice of induction or ongoing monitoring of the placenta and baby's well-being with a heart trace and scan. Sadly I don't know any where this actually happens but you do have a right to monitoring as an alternative. Induction comes with it's own risks of more intervention and it is worth weighing this up, along with looking at what is 'normal' in terms of 'overdue' in your family history. After induction of labour with my first I chose ongoing monitoring with my 4th who eventually came at 42 + 3 days in perfect health and his own time. It is not everyone's ideal choice by any means and wasn't easy to get the hospital's cooperation to be honest but for me it was right and worth the struggle. Best wishes to you with your pregnancy and birth.

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