Which induction book should I read?
I’m the author of two books about induction of labour.
Inducing Labour: making informed decisions has been popular for nearly twenty years. I frequently update it with new information, so as long as you get the one with the stork on the cover, it’s up-to-date.
In late 2021, I published In Your Own Time: how western medicine controls the start of labour and why this needs to stop.
But if you just want to start with one, which is best for you?
I’ll explain the difference!
As people often ask me this question, I decided to write a clear explanation of what is in each book. You can then decide which is better suited to your needs.
I will also add that, as it’s the second most common question I’m asked, they’re both available as an Ebook, from multiple platforms.
If you buy the Ebooks, you can get both for only a bit more than the price of one paperback. And they’re also often on offer, as they have both been up in the bestseller list.
But let’s look at each in turn.
What’s in Inducing Labour: making informed decisions?
I cover two key areas in Inducing Labour: making informed decisions. This book was written as a guide to making decisions about induction.
The first main area is called What induction involves.
This part of the book covers things like:
What induction is like, including descriptions of what each stage means in relation to what’s happening in your body.
Explanations of things like the Bishops Score, a stretch and sweep, the different drugs and tools that are used.
The different stages of induction (cervical ripening, breaking the waters and giving oxytocin by intravenous drip.)
What you can expect to happen in the different stages.
How an induced labour will be monitored.
The next few chapters of Inducing Labour: making informed decisions look at the evidence and the issues that you might want to consider if you’re offered induction. In some of these areas, there really isn’t much evidence. I explain the evidence in a balanced way, to help you make the decision that’s right for you. There is also a chapter designed to help you understand why there are issues with the evidence. I look at topics like:
Induction for prolonged pregnancy.
Induction after the waters break.
Induction for small or large babies (briefly).
Induction for older women.
Induction in other circumstances, but please note that most of these sections are very short, as there is often very little evidence to share:
after assisted fertility treatment.
when a baby has died.
after a previous caesarean.
for women with diabetes.
for reduced fetal movements.
There is also a chapter on non-medical induction and one on making decisions about induction.
Inducing Labour: making informed decisions is for people who want an overview of what induction is like and to know a bit about the evidence. It has more information for those who are considering induction, including some tips on how to navigate the system.
Some people read Inducing Labour: making informed decisions and love it, but still have questions about why induction is offered so frequently. Or they want to understand the issues in a deeper way. There are lots of wider issues that I didn’t have time to cover in Inducing Labour, which was intended as a personal guide to decision making. So that’s why I wrote another induction book, In Your Own Time.
In Your Own Time
The full title of my newest book on induction is In Your Own Time: how western medicine controls the start of labour and why this needs to stop.
You can probably tell from the title that this book is a bit more political. It goes into more depth about what I (and many others) see as a problem. That is, we seem to have an ‘induction epidemic’, as more than a third of all women now have their labour induced. In some areas the induction rate is even higher than that.
I do cover some of the same topics that I discuss in Inducing Labour, but in a different way. It’s written for a wider readership, rather than as if I am speaking directly to someone who needs to make decisions about their own care. I go into more depth about the evidence, and there are a few chapters that cover things that I mention only briefly in Inducing Labour.
Here’s a list of the chapters in In Your Own Time:
The advantages of the waiting days
What is the value of going into spontaneous labour? This has a surprising number of benefits for mother and baby.
Why doesn’t every woman get to birth in her own way?
How did western medicine came to control birth? And what are the ideas that have led to our current situation? I take a quick trip through history, explore the concept of risk, and look at how our modern perception of time affects our pregnancy and birth experiences.
Guidelines, evidence and listening to women
This chapter tells the story of how and why the 2021 draft NICE guidelines caused significant concern. Why is there a discrepancy between what the guidelines say, what the evidence says, and what women want?
Due dates, windows and why the computer shouldn’t decide
How did due dates originate? What’s the evidence? Why are they problematic? Is ultrasound more accurate than last menstrual period dates? And why do we need to start thinking about them differently?
Induction in late pregnancy – your baby isn’t like a pumpkin
Women are often told that there is a risk if they go too far beyond their due date. But is this really the case, and how how big is the risk? This chapter looks in depth at the evidence, including some of the controversial studies that have been carried out in this area.
Does my baby look big in this?
Why are suspected big babies deemed a problem? What are the assumptions that lead to women being told they need induction because their baby may be big? And does the evidence support them? What are the downsides of induction for big babies, and of screening for this?
Too old, too fat, too Black, too risky?
Many women are now offered induction because of their age, size, race or because of some other perceived risk factor. But does the evidence support this? Why can it be harmful? If you’re facing the decision about induction for one of these reasons, what do you need to know?
Addressing the induction epidemic
In the final chapter, I look at some possible solutions. What is and isn’t helping? How can we reframe things, and live in our own time?
In summary: where Inducing Labour is a personal guide to making decisions about induction, In Your Own Time is for people who want to understand how we reached the point where we have an induction epidemic, and what can be done about it. It’s also for anyone who wants to learn about the evidence and the issues in depth. If you enjoyed Inducing Labour and are keen to learn more, you’ll need In Your Own Time!
One last thing I’ll say is this. A childbirth educator friend summed up the differences from her perspective really well when she sent us this:
If I meet women/families who don’t know what they want, I tell them to buy Inducing Labour: making informed decisions.
I also recommend Inducing Labour to those who are considering induction, so they know what it entails.
If women/families are keen to avoid induction, or already have a bit of knowledge and want more, I tell them to buy In Your Own Time.
I hope that has helped explain the differences between my induction books. Whether or not you like to shop on Amazon, the Amazon pages for both of these books (Inducing Labour here and In Your Own Time here) contain lots of reviews. You might find it helpful to read those too.
If you’re a midwife or birth worker and you’d like to better understand the issues and develop your confidence with research, I often look at induction of labour in my online courses.
And as always, if you’d like to be among the first to hear my thoughts on new studies and to get updates about my work, new birth-related research and thinking, make sure you’re subscribed to our free newsletter list, which means you’ll get our monthly Birth Information Update and details of my current projects