Typically, delivery options are divided into two categories: natural birth and caesarian section. In some cases, a mother must go into induced labor. The Mayo Clinic defines this as the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth. While not typical, it is essential to understand if this becomes the best option for your pregnancy.
Learning About Inducing Labor
At City of Oaks Midwifery, we have encountered numerous delivery decisions. Induced labor is often a solution to a more significant issue with pregnancy; however, this does not always have to be the case.
There Are Many Reasons To Induce Labor
Inducing labor is often the result of various factors in pregnancy. Once one of these comes into play, your doctor may recommend considering inducing labor. The most common reason is that you are approaching two weeks past your initial due date. If at this point labor has not started naturally, the doctor will advise the induced labor.
From there, other serious reasons are when your water breaks but labor doesn’t begin, fetal growth restriction, gestational diabetes, placental abruption. There are also more environmental reasons such as living far from the hospital, a history of rapid deliveries, and avoiding an unattended delivery. If one of these applies to you during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about getting the induced labor scheduled.
It Comes With Possible Risks
As is the case for any delivery, inducing labor does come with risks. During this procedure, the medications that are used can sometimes cause abnormal contractions that can cause your baby’s heart rate to lower. Alongside that, there is greater chance of infection with some of the methods used to induce the labor. There is also an increased chance that you will experience bleeding after delivery due to the larger possibility that your uterine muscles will not properly contract after the delivery.
There Are Various Methods To Induce
A doctor will decide which induction method is the best option for your pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the goal of most induction methods is to ripen the cervix. From there, the other methods fall into rupturing the amniotic sac, using intravenous medication, and stripping the membranes. This process can often take varying lengths of time depending on how long it takes your cervix to ripen. From days to hours, there is no way to determine exactly how long it will take.
The comfort level of the procedure depends on the method the doctor uses to induce labor. Processes such as stripping the membranes can be painful or uncomfortable in a different way than the process of having your water broken.
While Uncommon, It Can Fail
In some cases of labor induction, the procedure does not work. The doctor will take the patient into a caesarian section procedure if this happens. This usually is a result of the cervix not being ripe enough for the delivery. When this happens, the healthcare provider can talk to you about future delivery attempts. This can make it so they advise for future deliveries to be c-sections again rather than attempting a vaginal delivery.
Being prepared for changes in a pregnancy can make it less intimidating. It is difficult to predict the need to induce labor before delivery, unless the reason is an environmental issue such as distance from the hospital. This basic understanding is a great place to start. Are you expecting to require an induced labor for your delivery? City of Oaks Midwifery is a great resource for information and answers to any questions you may have. Check out our website or give us a call at (919) 646-2665.