The ABC of Induction

Let us start with explaining what induction refers to. It means uterine stimulation so that labour starts. The objective of labour induction is always safe delivery of the foetus at an appropriate time. Doctors will recommend an induction when they believe that the baby is safer outside of the uterus.

Different Reasons for Induction of Labour

Some of the more common reasons why an induction is necessary are:

  • Most hospitals have a policy that if the mother is past her due date by more than a week or two, they will recommend an induction. According to experts, it is not recommended that the mother wait longer than that to give birth. Commentary suggests that the longer you wait, the more risk you expose yourself and your baby too. For instance, the risk of a stillbirth increases with increasing time.
  • If the test results show that the placenta isn’t effectively conduction nutrients from the mother’s blood to the baby, then labour will have to be induced.
  • A life-threatening condition, such as kidney disease, diabetes, or blood pressure that might affect the mother or the baby negatively also makes labour induction necessary.
  • A history of stillbirth can also be a reason for induction (often performed earlier than 40 weeks).
  • The mother’s water breaks but there are no contractions.  Most hospital policy states that an induction is required if contractions have not commenced 24 hours after the mother’s water breaks. Once the mother’s waters have broken, the baby is no longer in a sterile environment. Thus increasing the chances of infection.
  • If the mother develops preeclampsia, which can restrict the blood flowing to the baby, as well as, affect the mother’s health.

Natural Methods for Induction of Labour


Anything that gets your heart rate up, such as long walks, will relieve stress at the very least. It can induce labour as well.  Happy, relaxed mother = happy, relaxed labour.


Having sex can also induce labour. However, the reasons behind this are still unclear. Of the multiple theories, one of them is that release of the hormone; oxytocin can stimulate contractions in the uterus. Just remember that it is safe to have sex during all stages of pregnancy. However, doing so after water breaks increases the risk of infection.

Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation can also induce labour since it might jump start uterine contractions. Stimulating the nipples produces the same hormone, oxytocin, that also induces contractions in the uterus. Oxytocin is also one of the hormones responsible for ejection of milk from the breast.

Oxytocin can also help your uterus return to its original size after delivery. Stimulation of nipples after, such as breastfeeding your baby right after delivery achieves the same effect. If for some reason, you are unable to breastfeed immediately after birth, then try either manual stimulation of the nipples or by using a breast pump.

Membrane Stripping

Membrane Stripping is otherwise known as a ‘stretch and sweep‘. While this sounds like a surgical procedure, it isn’t! In order to encourage labour, the doctor or midwife will strip the membranes. A stretch and sweep is conducted without the help of any medications. A gloved finger, when inserted inside, can separate the cervical parts from the amniotic sac. The separation will release prostaglandins. These hormones will stimulate uterine contractions and help the body go into labour.

Hi! Natural Birth and Motherhood is about empowering women who are going through the stages of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.  Find out more useful information on related topics by click on the Blog button below.

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