Updated: Sep 13
You're approaching your due date and everyone is asking you, texting you, asking your partner - Is there a baby yet? Depending on your pregnancy, where you're planning to give birth and your provider, the word induction may come up.
Let us walk you through exactly what inductions are, when they come up in your talks with your provider and how to be prepared!
Inducing labor (aka labor induction) is when your provider begins the labor process before your body spontaneously goes into labor. In the U.S inductions are done frequently and in some cases are medically necessary for you and/or your baby or if you are 2 weeks post due date (some providers won't even let you go as far as 2 weeks!)
Before we dive into what kind of inductions there are, let's get the basics down in order to have a vaginal delivery. In order to birth vaginally two things have to happen. Effacement & Dilation. Effacement refers to the cervix stretching and thinning, and Dilation refers to the cervix opening. So when a provider is medically trying to induce labor they are trying to get the pregnant person to Efface and Dilate using medications. Medical inductions could include the introduction of Cervidil, Pitocin, and a Foley Ball.
Cervidil is a synthetic prostaglandin which causes effacement of the cervix. Effacement, as we know, is the stretching and thinning of the cervix. We want the cervix to me soft and buttery in order for it to start opening aka dilation.
Pitocin is synthetic oxytocin. Oxytocin is one of the hormones involved with creating contractions. Contractions make the cervix dilate and dilation means baby is on their way!
The Foley Bulb is a balloon that gets inserted vaginally and then filled with saline solution. This puts pressure on the cervix and causes dilation.
There are some other medical inductions such as a membrane sweep and manually breaking the amniotic sac.
There are also Natural Induction methods. These range from the old wives tale of eating spicy foods, having sex, going for walks, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, using castor oil, acupuncture....and the list goes on and on.
**When it comes to inducing labor we ALWAYS say to make sure you are under the guidance of your provider.**
Let's say you are preparing for your induction in the hospital. What can you expect and how can you be prepared?
- Typically providers will have you come into the hospital around dinner time to start the induction process.
- Have a plan in place for other children and for pets! Inductions can take a couple days on top of labor and delivery.
- Bring all the snacks and your hospital bag. Not sure what to bring? Check out our blog post of what to pack for the hospital.
- Talk with your support team i.e your doula about when they will come and support in person.
- Remembering that inductions can take some time, bring what you need in order to relax. Calming music, a good book, birth affirmations, aroma therapy, your cozy blanket from home!
The anticipation of childbirth can be nail biting and have you pacing the hallways of your home or hospital floor. Just remember, your baby will be born on their birthday. Repeat "My baby will be born on their birth day."
While there are plentiful, valid, life saving reasons to have an induction there are also reasons to trust our bodies and our babies to do what it needs to do. So make sure to talk all options through with your provider and if you ever have questions you can always reach out to your local doula ;)
Interested in more Childbirth Education? Make sure to check out when our next virtual Childbirth Ed course is being held here.
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