So you make it to your due date after what seems like 10 years of pregnancy, and nothing! The baby just won’t come!
I gave birth at exactly 41 weeks. And the day before my EDD my midwife told me I might have to get induced. It was on a Friday and she said if the baby didn’t come over the weekend, we’d have to induce on Monday because I would be going into my 42nd week.
I ended up having my daughter the next day, on the exact EDD. And it made me realise that induction is one of those things you don’t think much about…until you have to go through it. For a majority of women, induction occurs when there’s a medical reason to kickstart labor, but it can also result in a whole lot of complicated feelings and unexpected delivery experiences.
Here are some things you should know about being induced — reasons to take that route in the first place, potential risks, and questions to keep in mind.
What does being induced actually mean?
Being induced is the process of starting labour artificially. There are several reasons why you may actually be offered an induction which may include:
- Being overdue – induction generally happens at 41-42 weeks in this scenario.
- Your waters have broken but labour hasn’t started
- You have diabetes, provided your baby is progressing and growing in a healthy manner you may be offered an induction at 38 weeks gestation
- You have the condition of pre-eclampsia which may be chronic or acute which threatens the well-being of your baby.
Those stories you may have heard about women requesting an induction, so they can deliver on a certain day or be done with pregnancy? Not the norm, nor recommended. But these are dealt case by case by the relevant doctors.
Induction typically includes medication, but you might need a device, too.
To start labor through induction, most women receive an IV for fluids as well as medication. Depending on how dilated (open) or effaced (thin) your cervix is, you might get something called Pitocin. Or, before that step, you may first need a type of medication called Cervidil, which can also help (FYI: that one is vaginally inserted).
The intent of induction is to soften the cervix to allow the uterine contraction process to begin on its own, or to use an IV medication to create regular uterine contractions.
Be prepared to wait, because induction can make labor last longer.
An induced labor can be a longer labor, especially if your cervix was not ready, and you may not deliver for more than 24 hours. You may also stay at the hospital longer. Again, this is because, among other things, the abrupt onset of labor means that your risk for vaginal tears or the need for an episiotomy increases. This will, of course, mean that you need to stay at the hospital longer so that you can recover.
C-sections are a common outcome.
If your cervix isn’t quite ready at the beginning of induction, then you may end up having a cesarean section. And despite your best intentions alongside being induced, other factors can also contribute to a c-section, like size and position of baby or amount of time you push during labor.
Many mothers report that induction tends to be more painful than childbirth without induction. This is because the contractions are induced abruptly rather than in the gradual natural process your body goes through prior to childbirth. Because of this, you may want to discuss pain relief options with your doctor prior to induction.
It’s completely natural to induce labour without medial intervention. Your doctor may even recommend tryIng out some methods before attempting medial induction.
Natural induction methods include nipple stimulation , which triggers the release of oxytocin, the hormone which in turn triggers uterine contractions. Sex may also help, because orgasms also cause the release of oxytocin.
Natural methods of induction aren’t full proof, but if you’re lucky, they may save you a lot of hassle.
Safety VS Risk
Despite its disadvantages, labor induction is generally safe. It is not necessarily something you’d want to have, but the survival rates for both mother and baby are pretty comparable with non-induced vaginal deliveries.
This is not to say that it doesn’t come with its own risks. Potential complications do exist but medical teams are usually well-prepared for them.