Book review by Lorraine Pryce
The AIMS Guide to Induction of Labour, by Nadia Higson, is available from the AIMS shop as a printed book or on Kindle, for £8: https://www.aims.org.uk/shop
When I put my hand up to write a review about this book, I had already hoped that it would help me to look at the subject matter objectively.
As a mother who has experienced induction I have very personal views about it as a method of intervention. As a doula I have witnessed others’ experiences of it. As I continue to learn and unlearn for the importance of the work I do, I am invested in looking at the subject matter through an unbiased lens.
It is great to be able to say that this book did rise to the challenge and that I now have it in my library forever.
The topic of induction can be very emotive. For a birthing person there is often a lack of clarity or transparency about the methods, reasoning or implications of an induction. For those supporting birthing people, induction is often met with wariness. This book acknowledges this objectively, and with much needed focus on the facts and considerations when discussing this form of intervention. It also highlights that there are times that induction can be vital for the pregnant person or their baby – and that some people’s experience of induction can be positive.
This is a book that not only can I turn to for evidence-based information, but also one that I know that I can safely signpost to parents that I work with. The information is balanced, and offers a pro-choice approach, whilst also considering the language used to make the book as accessible as possible to all birthing people.
From the point of view of a parent, the layout of the book allows you to find information based on your personal circumstances. For example, if you are in a situation where induction is being considered for length of pregnancy there is a specific section in here that looks at all the evidence in terms of risks and benefits as well as things to consider. The writing also feels like a discussion rather than one-sided advice. The ‘Things to Consider’ section really allows you to explore the presented risks and benefits whilst also providing you with suggestions of questions to ask your care providers. This may be especially useful if you have turned to this book because the information you have been provided is not enough to make an informed choice.
The AIMS Guide to Induction of Labour is easy to read and fairly easy to digest, with research evidence being given but also summarised. Some of the detail explaining the reasons for induction of labour can get quite wordy, with facts and figures in parts which can be hard to take in all at once. However, it is important that the information is there and it will be beneficial when looking at a specific scenario, rather than trying to read the book as a whole. Trying to digest all of this information in one go was quite difficult so I would use this as a reference book, as it is intended. The layout of the book is consistent throughout which makes it really easy to use in this way.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is that it does more than just give you the information about induction methods (which it does in detail). The start of the book highlights the importance of informed consent, which is applicable to any decisions being made during pregnancy and birth. If this is the only part of the book you read you would be in a more informed place. It also gives you an education about what is happening in the body in different scenarios, so if this is the only book you read in preparation for labour you are getting a full view of birth and what to expect both from spontaneous labour or induced labour.
Personally, I have learnt things about induction that I did not know, despite going through the process myself. It has also helped me to understand my birth better. Although it is impossible for every outcome or experience to be accounted for, it does give a good idea of what to expect in an induction of labour. This important part of the conversation can often be missed, or not given in enough detail when discussing the realities of induction with health care providers or even those who may have been through it before.
I have enjoyed learning from this source and would recommend it as a book to have in any doula’s collection. As a doula, I often find myself asking why induction is so often suggested and indeed why induction rates in the UK have risen in the past few years. Although the book does not address this specifically it does signpost to additional AIMS information to help answer the question.
I am glad that now I also have this resource in my doula bag to signpost to parents, and also to help me to remain objective, and to have so much evidence-based information at my fingertips.