If you are pregnant and your due date is quickly approaching, your provider may have mentioned inducing you on a certain date if you have not already given birth. For some women this can be very exciting! You’ve been pregnant nearly 10 months and are ready to meet your little angel. Other women may feel afraid of the process or upset if they did not plan on using any medical interventions. You may feel a combination of both, that’s absolutely normal!
What exactly does induction mean?
Labor induction is use of medications or other methods to bring on labor. The goal is for you to have a vaginal birth.
Why do women get induced?
Women may be induced if she or her baby’s health is at risk. You can also get induced if you go 2 weeks past your due date. Some women want to be induced earlier than necessary because they are tired of being pregnant (after all it’s been almost 10 months!) But you will not be induced before 39 weeks unless there is a medical indication. Your baby may not be physically ready to survive outside of your womb. The last thing you want is for your baby to end up in the NICU because you were impatient. Trust me! Let your baby be warm and safe inside of you until he is ready to come out J
How is it done?
The three main medications that can be used are Pitocin, Cytotek, or Cervadil. They each work in different ways to either start your contractions or soften your cervix to get your labor going. While you are being induced nurses are keeping a close eye on you and your baby to be sure you are both tolerating the medications.
What to expect:
Your provider will give you a date and time to go to the hospital. You will likely be told not to eat anything after midnight (please eat well on this day because you will not be eating again until after your baby is born). Once you arrive to the hospital you will check in and nurses will hook you up to the fetal monitor to monitor your baby’s heart and to see if you are having any contractions. Your nurse will ask you your medical history, get your vitals, draw blood, and start an IV. She will also do a vaginal exam to see if your cervix is dilated and to see how low the baby is. Depending on your vaginal exam, you will be given the medication that is most likely to kick start your labor.
That is the easy part. Now it’s your turn to do the work! Some women only need a little help and labor proceeds quick. Other women can take two days or more before the birth. Other than the medications you are given your doctor may also break your water to speed up the process (your contractions will become something serious after this). In the mean time, once you are in true labor and things are progressing well, you can receive an epidural.
Are there risks?
Yes, there are always risks. A big risk is that you may need a c-section if your labor does not progress. Another reason not to be induced before 39 weeks when your body is ready. The good thing is that trained nurses are watching you very closely. They are able intervene when necessary.
So get ready to meet your sweet little one! He or she will be here before you know it and life will never be the same!
From your friendly neighborhood nurse.