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St. John Medical Center Health Calendar

Please take a moment to review the SJMC Health Community Calendar. This community publication is listed online and includes relevant healthcare information on a variety of topics: free health screenings, free health topic seminars, support groups and so much more. Click for the Health Resource Guide at St. John Medical Center.

Obstetrical Care

St. John Medical Center’s Childbirth Education Class Schedule Click for the Childbirth Education Schedule at St. John Medical Center.

Induction of Labor and Pitocin Guidelines

Westshore Women’s Health Associates and Westshore Midwifery Associates are honored that you are entrusting us for your prenatal care. We recognize the value of parents-to-be being active participants in their prenatal care and respect that clinical practices may vary according to patients’ needs and values. The major goal of prenatal care is the birth of a healthy baby with minimal risk to the mother. In order to ensure the greatest chance of reaching this goal, there are practice guidelines that are followed by our physicians and midwives. These guidelines are based on the recommendations of current research, community standards and professional organizations including The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Please review this information closely and discuss any questions or concerns you have regarding these guidelines early in your pregnancy to avoid any misunderstandings between you and your provider.

Induction of Labor Before Your Due Date: In order to avoid complications for the newborn, only medically necessary inductions of labor will occur before 39 weeks gestation. The risks versus the benefits of induction, as well as what constitutes a medically necessary induction will be discussed with you. Induction prior to 39 weeks gestation for nonmedical reasons or for discomforts of pregnancy will not be done. After 39 weeks of pregnancy, whether induction is necessary and whether or not you are an appropriate candidate for induction can be discussed between you and your healthcare provider.

Induction of Labor After Your Due Date: It is not uncommon for a pregnancy to last beyond the due date, and does not necessarily mean you need induced once your due date has past. However, because of the unacceptable increased risk of complications, including but not limited to, death of the fetus, labor abnormalities, fetal intolerance of labor, meconium aspiration syndrome, and postmaturity syndrome of pregnancies that persists beyond 42 weeks (or 2 weeks past your due date), it is practice policy of Westshore Women’s Health Associates and Westshore Midwifery Associates to induce labor by or at 42 weeks of pregnancy.

Pitocin: Pitocin is a “man-made” version of oxytocin, the hormone your body makes that produces contractions. If you are induced, Pitocin is likely to be used. Sometimes, once you are already in spontaneous labor, your labor progress may abnormally slow down or even stop. The providers at Westshore Women’s Health Associates and Westshore Midwifery Associates try to be as patient as reasonably possible in allowing labor to progress naturally without intervention. We try to prevent a slowing of labor through natural methods, such as ambulation, position change, and pain relief/relaxation techniques which may include warm water immersion or shower if in active labor. However, if labor slows or stops for too long, there can be risks to mother and baby, including fetal intolerance of labor, infection, blood loss, and cesarean section. In order to prevent these risks to mother and baby, your provider may utilize the lowest amount of Pitocin necessary to have your labor progress at a safe rate. We understand that there are a lot of concerns and misunderstandings about Pitocin within the community. We believe that if used minimally, judiciously and with strict safety guidelines, Pitocin can allow labor to once again progress normally and increase the chances of a vaginal delivery.

We look forward to caring for you during your pregnancy. We welcome any questions you may have regarding these guidelines. Please discuss with your provider early in your pregnancy if these guidelines are not acceptable to you.

Pregnancy – Recommended Books

  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Babycenter Pregnancy from Preconception to Birth by Linda J Murray
  • The Complete Book of Pregnancy by Sheila Kitzinger & Childbirth
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  • Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper and Suzanne Arms

Breast feeding – Recommended Books

  • Breastfeeding Made Simple by Kendall-Tackett, Mohrbacher, Newman
  • Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Wiessinger, West, and Pitman

Favorite Web sites


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