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Am I Ready to be Induced?

“Am I Ready to be Induced?”

Did you ever think that those would be your words?  If you are planning to be induced, this time can be intimidating.  The fear of the unknown or the unprepared can even be scary and/or shocking.  Take a deep breath and know you are not alone. 

Labor inductions are performed in a few ways. There are natural ways to stimulate the cervix and to contract the uterus in the attempt to have a vaginal birth. When the pressure is on, due to a woman’s and/or baby’s health concerns, then a more medical approach begins.  Non-medical inductions are called elective inductions and should only occur after 39 weeks. 

The Natural Approaches

You will notice that the natural approach releases natural hormones.  The medical route uses synthetic labor induction drugs in their approach. As a Birth Doula and a Childbirth Educator, I like to make all this information known to my clients. The natural approach includes the use of these suggestions alone or in combinations with:

Exercise includes walking, dancing, moderate and safe house cleaning, climbing stairs with a friend. Just be careful because while pregnant the hormone relaxin is released which helps loosen our muscles that can contribute to accidents.

Induced method

Walking for induction

Nipple Stimulation releases oxytocin and endorphin hormones which also prepares your nipples for breastfeeding. 

Sexual Intercourse helps by two ways: the semen contains prostaglandins and an orgasm releases oxytocin and endorphins, all which help the natural process along.

Spicy foods can help, but be careful not to end up with an upset stomach and labor pains.

Eating Dates & Pineapple is a great and healthy way!

Yoga Cat/Cow Exercise: This may cause baby to get in a better birthing position and alleviate back pain.

Acupressure: Enjoy a pedicure or a great foot rub (you deserve it).  Using a trained acupressure massage therapist will be enjoyable and will help release endorphins (the happy-love hormones). 

The Over-the-Counter Medical Approach

Please consult a holistic professional or your health care provider for the benefits and risks of the following: Evening Primrose Oil, Red Raspberry Tea, Acupuncture, Castor Oil, Homeopathics.

Medical Approach

The medical induction is done under a doctor’s supervision and mostly done in a medical setting.

Personally, I believe in letting nature do its thing as much as possible.

But here are the ways a doctor can intervene if necessary:

Membrane stripping is a procedure where a health care provider sweeps a gloved finger over the thin membranes that connect the amniotic sac to the wall of your uterus. Consequently, this action may cause your body to release prostaglandins, which soften the cervix therefore causing contractions.  Stripping the membranes can be a painful procedure.  I did this with my last born.  If I could do it again, I would not do it, since it was not a medical necessity. Rather, let nature do its thing as much as possible. 

Prostaglandins is a drug used to ripen the cervix. This drug is inserted into the vagina or taken by the mouth under a doctor’s supervision.  Most noteworthy, according to ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) this drug increases the risk of uterine ruptures if you have had a previous cesarean. 

Rupturing the amniotic sac or Amniotomy is the rupture of the amniotic sac with a special tool.

Laminaria is a substance that absorbs water. It is inserted to expand the cervix.

Foley Balloon is a catheter (small tube) with an inflatable balloon on the end.  This can also be inserted to widen the cervix.

Pitocin is a synthetic hormone of oxytocin that causes contractions of the uterus. ACOG stated that, “It can be used to start labor or to speed up labor that began on its own. As a result, contractions usually start in about 30 minutes after oxytocin is given.”           

Before you agree, ask what your Bishop Score, BBP and the baby’s non-stress test is.

Bishop score? The Bishop score is rating system that health care providers use to determine how ripe your cervix is before induction and labor.  A Bishop Score is given for vaginal delivery and induction in these areas – Dilation, Position, Effacement, Stations, and Consistency.  See this chart  for a better explanation  ACOG states, “A number ranging from 0–13 is given to rate the condition of the cervix. A Bishop score of less than 6 means that your cervix may not be ready for labor.”

BBP is an ultrasound to check the health of baby.   The BPP tracks baby movement, muscle tone, breathing rate, and the amniotic fluid levels.

Non-Stress Test monitors your baby’s heart rate.

Are there risks with labor induction?

Some methods overstimulate the uterus. Too many and too fast contractions may lead to changes in the fetal distress.  Medical problems before pregnancy or during pregnancy may cause complications. Labor induction risks include the following:

  • Increased risk of cesarean birth
  • Infection in the mother or baby
  • Uterine rupture
  • Fetal death

What if nothing works and I am medically induced anyways?

Induced after due date

Your due date is just a estimate.

Stay Calm.  Your due date is just a date. Baby is picking up on your energy and…

  • Research comfort measures that help with inductions.  
  • Hydrate and get rest.
  • Have a positive attitude about possible expectations.
  • You can try to hire a birth doula. Constant support is key!
  • Have a great postpartum support team ready.
  • Pack a feel good bag with your favorite music, blanket, pillow, book, scents, iPad games, etc.
  • Pack snacks for your partner. You might not be allowed to eat or drink liquids but maybe your partner will be hungry.
  • Finally, know your rights before being induced. For example: depending on your bishop score, health of fetus, and gestational age you might have the chance to go home if the induction does not work. As a result, you can try for another day in the nearest future or maybe you will go naturally the following day.

Good Luck and make sure you have a great support team before, during and after.  Happy laboring!

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