What Happens When You Get Induced?

Induction of labour is the term given to starting labour artificially. There are numerous methods used to induce labour and some of these involve administration of drugs aiming to encourage the cervix to shorten and soften. The main aim of an induction is to dilate the cervix in order to allow your baby to be born.

Induction of labour is the term given to starting labour artificially. There are numerous methods used to induce labour and some of these involve administration of drugs aiming to encourage the cervix to shorten and soften. The main aim of an induction is to dilate the cervix in order to allow your baby to be born.
Why would I need to be induced?
You may be offered induction if your waters break before your contractions start if you've gone past your due date though it may depend on your hospital's policy and if there are any concerns about your health such as diabetes or pre-eclampsia, or the size or health of your baby. 
What are the methods that can be used to induce labour?
  • Membrane sweeps are the most favourable method of induction and have been proven to increase the chances of labour starting naturally within 48 hours. It can also reduce the need for other methods of induction. During a membrane sweep, your doctor or midwife will place their finger just inside your cervix, making a circular sweeping movement to separate the membranes from the cervix. The procedure is a little uncomfortable and you may experience some mild bleeding, but it will not harm your baby.
  • Prostaglandins is a gel that is placed high into the vagina behind the cervix that helps to induce labour by encouraging the cervix to soften and ripen. This will then allow the cervix to open and so contractions can begin. 
  • An artificial rupture of membranes can only be performed is the cervix is open. When the cervix is roughly 2-3cms, it is possible to poke the membranes using a small instrument to release the waters. Usually, a membrane sweep and prostaglandins are enough to get your labour going but some women may require oxytocin. It is normally only given when the membranes have broken either naturally or artificially. 
  • Oxytocin is given using a drip into a vein in your arm and it causes the womb to contract. The dosage is adjusted to the strength and frequency of your contractions and to how your labour is progressing. The aim is for the womb to contract regularly until you give birth to your baby.
How long will it take?
A lot of women mistakenly believe the date of their induction will be the day they meet their baby. However, being induced can take a long time and it may be a couple of days before labour really gets going.
What are the benefits of an induction?
There are numerous benefits of induction of labour including relief from a medical condition such as pre-eclampsia, anxiety and due to possible infection if your waters have broken and labour has not started.
Am I more likely to need a c-section if I’m induced?
An induction doesn't mean an automatic c-section but it does, unfortunately, increase your risk of getting a c-section if the above procedures fail. 
And always remember you can choose not to be induced but monitoring to check your baby’s well being should be increased.
Written by Kellie Kearney staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.mylittlebabog.com.

Kellie Kearney

Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of five kids aged newborn right up to nine. She loves coffee, cloth nappies, travel and sharing her every day true to life family moments on Instagram.

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