What is an induction of labor, what can it do for you and how does a labor induction work? Today we’re going to dive into inductions and what to expect.
Hi, I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have helped thousands of moms start inductions, as well as having two of my own inductions. I know it can be scary to do — but it doesn’t need to be when you learn what they are.
Introduction: What is Labor Induction and When Should It Be Used?
Labor induction is the process of starting labor artificially. Labor induction is usually begun when a pregnant woman’s cervix is dilated a bit, but aren’t in labor. Labor induction can be used to start labor for many reasons, including:
- To avoid going past your due date (or past 42 weeks which is considered unsafe)
- To avoid maternal or fetal complications (or to stop them if they’re starting)
- To reduce pain associated with prolonged pregnancy
I have a whole post on why an induction might be indicated at 37 weeks.
What is the Role of the Contractions?
Essentially, contractions push your baby into the birth canal and out of your body.
Your uterus is a muscle and it will push the baby out when it is ready.
You will likely also have some Braxton-Hicks, which is your uterus practicing contracting. These can also help soften your cervix so it is prepared when actual labor starts.
What Causes Labor Induction?
Labor induction can be started in several ways. The main ways are:
Physical Means of Induction
Most often this is:
- Rupture of your bag of waters — your doctor uses a fancy crochet-hook looking thing to break it and let the water out.
- Stripping your membranes — done in the office by your doctor
- Insertion of a foley bulb — stretches the cervix through pressure
Medication means of induction:
There are a few of these as well:
- Cervidil — a tiny tampon-like thing that lays next to your cervix
- Cytotec — a tiny pill given in a variety of ways
- Prostin Gel — a gel put next to your cervix
- Pitocin — given through your IV
All of those are hormones that work in different ways to help your body start to contract.
How Should you Prepare Your Body for Labor?
What you eat:
Make sure that you’re “eating across the rainbow” and balancing carbs and protein. Keeping your body healthy and fulfilled is really important throughout pregnancy and before an induction. Eat something you will enjoy that will also give you energy for your labor.
What you should do:
I have a whole post on what you should do the day before your induction.
What will happen:
It is really important to know what to expect as you head into labor. It’s almost like riding a roller coaster in the dark –which is only fun at Disneyland.
I recommend taking a prenatal class from someone who knows what to expect along the way. The Online Prenatal Class for Couples takes my 20 years of bedside experience and gives it to you in just a few hours.
You honestly can’t afford to NOT do it. It comes at three price points to get you prepared in a way that fits your budget!
Conclusion – Start Preparing Yourself for Labor – Get Ready for a Positive Experience!
One of the most important things you can do is set positive intentions for your birth. While saying affirmations out loud can feel crazy, I know they can really help. Try out some of these:
- My delivery will be a happy, exciting day.
- I will have a great induction, my body knows just what to do.
- I trust my doctor to help me make the best choices for my baby and myself.
- My healthcare team has my best interests at heart.
I know when we keep things positive instead of scary, it can really help things turn out better.
Be sure to grab my free birth prep pack to get you started on the road to positivity:
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.