Learn about Induction
You have probably heard the term induction before. While it may not be the best option for some, others might decide an induction of labor is the best route for their pregnancy. Regardless of your thoughts, it is important to be educated on the topic so you are able to make a knowledgeable decision for your birth.
What is Induction of Labor?
Induction of labor is a process where you try to start labor in a situation where it is not naturally happening. In other words, it is when you try to augment uterine contractions to prompt vaginal delivery artificially.
Why would a pregnant woman want to be induced?
There are many reasons why your healthcare provider may want to induce you. Some common reasons are:
- Post-term pregnancy: when you’re nearing 41-42 weeks of gestation and are past 1 or weeks of your actual due date
- Fetal growth compromise: if your baby isn’t growing at a normal-for-gestation rate, or their estimated weight is less than the 10th percentile, it means they are suffering from intrauterine growth restriction. It is best to deliver the baby in such circumstances to prevent fetal morbidity and mortality.
- Chorioamnionitis: also known as an infection in the uterus.
- Diabetes during pregnancy
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure or signs of eclampsia
- Non-progress of labor after the water breaks
All above situations indicate induction of labor.
Methods of induction in the hospital
Here are a few methods of induction that one would find in a hospital setting:
- Cervical ripening: it is a process where you soften and prepares the cervix for labor by placing prostaglandin analogs inside it
- Intracervical catheterization: here you place a catheter inside the cervix and retain it with normal saline to help ripen the cervix
- Swipe and sweep amniotic membranes: your healthcare provider will use a gloved finger to separate the amniotic sac from the cervix to augment labor
- Amniotomy: your healthcare provider uses an amniotic hook to rupture your amniotic sac manually to offset labor
- Oxytocin infusion or Pitocin: Oxytocin is a hormone that causes uterine contractions, administering it in controlled doses helps strengthen contractions and progress labor.
What are the possible ramifications of being induced?
While induction of labor is useful in a lot of circumstances; it comes with a set of possible risks, these include:
- Failure of induction or prolonged labor
- Uterine hyperstimulation leads to abnormally fast contractions
- Fetal bradycardia- where your baby has a low heart rate due to medications used during induction
- Uterine rupture
Methods to encourage labor at Willow
At Willow Midwife Center, we encourage natural labor wherever possible. However, we understand the importance of induction where it is needed. While we do not use all of the same methods you might find at a hospital setting, here are a few methods we use to encourage labor at Willow Midwife Birth Center:
- Swipe and sweep of membranes for mothers 41+ weeks
- Intracervical follies
- Castor oil shake
During your care at our center, we will talk through all of your options surrounding labor so you are prepared and educated on whatever may come!