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  • Writer's pictureEmma Armstrong

I've been told I should be induced due to a big baby and shoulder dystocia - what should I do?

Currently the NICE Guidelines do not support offering induction to women and people whose babies might be larger.


That's because there is evidence that induction itself increases the chance of shoulder dystocia!


I say "might be" because scans are rubbish at accurately judging a baby's weight! Many, many babies who are estimated to be "big" in pregnancy are born at a far lower weight than the scan suggested.


However, a study called "The Big Baby Trial" is trying to work out whether early induction reduces the chance of shoulder dystocia, and its associated problems in babies expected to be larger than average.


Shoulder dystocia itself isn't the outcome we need to know more about. In most cases of shoulder dystocia, the baby still comes out just fine. So what we need to be looking at is whether induction reduces the number of women and babies who are HARMED by shoulder dystocia - a very different question.


If you are told that you have to be induced, it's likely that your hospital is part of the Big Baby Trial. However, only you can decide whether you want to be part of the trial - and, if you do, you are randomly allocated to induction or waiting for spontaneous labour. The trial requires that you make an informed and free decision whether or not to be involved - and you can drop out at any time. So, you do NOT "have to" be induced.


If you are told that you have to be induced because your scan shows baby to be bigger than average, and this is not part of the Big Baby Trial, this goes against the NICE guidelines and indicates that your doctor or midwife may not be a safe provider of maternity care. You absolutely do not have to be induced, and you can, if you want to, change to a different midwife or doctor.


So, if you're told you "have to" be induced, you can be reassured that you don't! We support you all the way - here is a link to Emma Ashworth who has lots of information about your rights and also don't forget you can find resources and more on our app !

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