Induction – an overview

Okay. You are 40+ weeks into your pregnancy, and your healthcare professions have started dropping the big “I” word into conversations with you. Induction What? Your goal included going into labour naturally, spontaneous, in your own time. How can you be at this point? And what happens in an induction anyway?

There are many ways that labour is induced in mothers. Some doctors will also apply a combination of different methods for this purpose, depending on your condition and requirements. Which method will work successfully varies from woman to woman as does when it jumpstarts labour. For some women, it might take a relatively short time because they just needed a gentle nudge. For others, it may take more time.

Why will I be offered an induction

Your caregiver may offer you an induction if they believe that commencing labour is in the best interest of you and your baby.  Some of the most common reasons for an induction are:

  • you baby is considered overdue – that is you are 41+ weeks gestation,
  • your baby is considered small for its gestation,
  • it has been 24 hours since your waters have broken but you haven’t had any contractions,
  • you have high blood pressure, or
  • there is another medical condition affecting either you or your baby.

What does a ripe or unripe cervix mean?

Your doctor or a midwife can induce labour through different ways. And it will all depend on whether your cervix is considered ripe or unripe.

Your cervix is considered ripe when it has naturally tinned and softened because of the hormones in your body. In this case, your caregiver is likely to suggest they break your waters and then administer synthetic oxytocin IV.

If your cervix is unripe, it will be firm, long and closed.  As such, your caregiver is likely to recommend a hormone-based vaginal gel prostaglandin or Foley’s Catheter be used to soften and open it.

Will induction work for me?

In most cases induction does result in the vaginal birth of a healthy baby. On occassion, a failed induction may result in a c-section. But don’t worry. Hospitals have many options up their sleeves with induction. So, they are able to work through a few methods before resorting to surgury.

We will write a short series of articles discussing the most common methods of induction. Each of the articles is aimed at being read in 3 minutes or less. We will start with the use of prostaglandins and Foley Catheters.

This blog post is general in nature.  Please do not treat this blog as medical advice – it is not.

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