Induction: What to Expect

The majority of labours begin naturally, but some women are given a helping hand in kick-starting labour. There are a few different methods of induction, and procedures vary between hospitals. Speak to your healthcare provider to find out more about induction procedures in your area.

Why might induction be necessary?
This will vary between hospitals, between healthcare providers, and even between patients, but some possible reasons for induction include:

  • being overdue – some hospitals like to induce from week 41, and others wait until week 42
  • diabetes – if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are likely to be offered early induction to reduce the risk of labour complications
  • your waters have broken but labour hasn’t started – if labour hasn’t started 24 hours after your waters broke, your healthcare provider may want to talk about induction to prevent the risk of infection
  • pre-eclampsia and other medical conditions – if you have been diagnosed with a condition that endangers you or your baby, your healthcare provider may wish to induce labour early
  • if fetal growth problems are detected – if a growth scan shows that your baby has stopped growing, your healthcare provider may wish to opt for induction

How is labour induced?
Induction methods vary between hospitals, and may depend on your individual circumstances. Possible induction methods include:

  • prostaglandin – this hormone causes the cervix to soften during labour. A pessary or tablet of prostaglandin will be placed into your vagina. If after six hours your contractions have not started, you may be offered another pessary or tablet.
  • synthetic oxytocin  – if prostaglandin has not kick started labour, you will be offered synthetic oxytocin through an intravenous drip. Your waters will be broken before the drip is administered. Synthetic oxytocin causes more powerful contractions than natural labour, and your baby will be monitored throughout to check for signs of distress.

What does induced labour feel like?
Induced labour is said to be more painful than natural labour, this is because the contractions are more powerful. You will have access to pain relief during labour, so make sure you discuss your options with your healthcare provider in advance.

What if I don’t want to be induced?
There are times when induction is necessary to save a life. If, for example, you have developed pre-eclampsia, induction is the best option to protect both you and your baby. However, if you feel that you are being offered induction unnecessarily, speak to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will want to inform you of the risks, but you are well within your rights to request more information and question the need for induction.

Is your labour being induced? Have you been through an induced labor and have tips to share?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.