Birth stories tend to be very comforting when you’re looking for ways to ease the nervousness surrounding your fast approaching delivery. It is a great source as it relates real experiences – the various ways in which mothers prepare for delivery, the strategies adopted to cope with pain and after birth care.
But there’s a flipside too. It exposes you to the troubles and complications of delivery. You must have come across stories of women who have passed their due date and were required to be induced medically.
What does inducing labor imply? Why do doctors suggest such medical intervention? Can everyone opt for medical induction of labor? And, are there any special precautions to take before you get induced? Learn everything right here.
The body goes into labor once the uterus and cervix have ripened and are ready to deliver the baby. However, in certain cases delivery needs assistance. Labor needs to be induced artificially through the use of medication or medical techniques. The methods of inducing labor include membrane sweep, use of prostaglandin in the form of vaginal insertions, pessary or gels, artificial rupture of the membranes (breaking the waters) or the use of Oxytocin.
Why do you need an induction?
Expectant women are offered the option of induction by their healthcare providers in cases when an early delivery is considered safer than prolonging the pregnancy. These include:
- If you are overdue. It is normal to surpass your due date especially if this is your first pregnancy. However, the absence of any signs of labor two weeks after your due date (beyond 40 weeks) will need a little help. Most doctors schedule an induction somewhere between the 40th and the 41st week.
- If your waters have broken, but you do not experience any contractions. Contractions should start within 24 hours of the waters breaking. If you do not go into labor, you will need to be induced as there is an increased the risk of infection.
- If you suffer medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure. These medical conditions threaten the health and well being of the baby. Heath care professionals do not wait beyond the 38th week to induce labor in such cases.
- If the mother’s uterus has developed a bacterial infection. There is a possibility of bacterial infection in the uterus, amniotic sac and also the amniotic fluid. The baby has to be developed preterm to prevent harm. Also, the amniotic fluid necessary for the baby’s growth and development may reduce in quantity. The condition is termed Oligohydramnios.
- If the baby develops abnormally or not at the expected rate. Many-a-times doctors are forced to induce labor to terminate a pregnancy wherein the baby has severe abnormalities or if it dies in the mother’s womb. Other conditions that need labor to be induced are a baby bigger than its gestational age and stalled fetal growth.
- If there is placental abruption – the placenta may separate partially or completely from the inner uterine wall.
- If you develop preeclampsia.
Precautionary Measures before Inducing Labor
You should always discuss the procedure with your doctor. The doctor before he induces labor will examine the state of the cervix to decide if the cervix is ripe or not. The state of the cervix is important as it determines the success of the induction; more prepared the cervix more successful is your induction. You may also want to consider “if” clauses- what if the induction fails? What after a failed induction attempt.
Many women elect to induce labor for personal reasons. If they want their parents to be with them or if a business obligation does not allow their husbands to be there for the delivery as per the due date and a lot more. We would advise you not to opt for induction unless absolutely necessary. Let nature run its course.