Induction – Foley’s Catheter

The second article in our Induction series and is on using a Foley’s Catheter to induce labour.  Again, this piece is part of our series aimed at being read in 3 minutes or less.

In the last article, we discussed what it meant if your cervix was not ripe. If this is the case for you then you are in for a long process, so rest when you can.

Foley’s Catheter

One option you have if your cervix is still unripe is to have a Foley’s Catheter inserted. That is a non-pharmacological method of inducing labour. Foley Catheter induction is favourable where there is no urgency around the baby being born. For a Foley’s Catheter to be inserted your Bishop Score must be less than 7.

What is a Foley’s Catheter?

A Foley’s Catheter is a small thin sterile tube with balloons on the end. Using a speculum, the catheter is inserted into your cervix and taped to your thigh. The balloons are then inflated with saline so that they apply pressure to the cervix.

The aim is for the pressure of the balloons to put enough pressure on your cervix that it begins to open.

What you need to know

  • The World Health Organization recommends the procedure
  • Foley Catheter induction is an efficient and reversible method of inducing labour
  • Might be a safer option for women considering a VBAC
  • If you have a Foley’s Catheter, you will have to stay in hospital but you can move around
  • You will be reexamined somewhere between 12 and 15 hours after insertion unless the catheter falls out first.
  • Your caregiver will check on you approximately 1 hour after insertion and then again every 4 hours.

Risks associated 

  • As with any time you insert a foreign object into your body, there is a risk of infection.
  • It is different for everyone – however, some women experience some discomfort
  • You may experience some bleeding
  • It may cause your waters to break

Foley Catheter induction is not recommend if:

In the next article we will consider using prostaglandins to induce labour.

Hi! Natural Birth and Motherhood is about empowering women who are going through the stages of pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. This article is for general information purposes only. Please do not use it as medical advice. It is not.

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