What Happens When You’re Labour Induced
All mothers and medical practitioners aim for all pregnancies to be carried to term, or until 39 weeks — which means labour should not be induced electively before then. Life is unpredictable and some situations arise when the process needs a little assistance, and your doctor might have to induce labour. Read on and learn what to expect if it happens to you.
What does it mean to induce labour?
Your doctor may deem it fit to induce – or start, labour contractions using medication or other methods if a your pregnancy is post-term. A general post-term pregnancy is when you’ve reached 42 weeks, or when your health or your baby’s is at risk.
Why your doctor might induce labour
Your doctor may induce labour due to the following:
- If there’s no sign of any movement from your uterus, there’s a high possibility you’re overdue. At this point your doctor may induce you around 42 weeks.
- There’s a complication. Medical conditions such as diabetes and gestational diabetes, or issues with the placenta and the amniotic fluid may make it risky to continue the pregnancy.
- If your water breaks and contractions haven’t started on their own within 24 hours, your doctor may induce labour at this point.
- Your baby isn’t thriving. If tests suggest your baby is mature enough to deliver, your practitioner may opt for induction.
- You may be induced if you live far from where you’re delivering because there might be a concern that you might not make it to the hospital or birthing centre in time.
How labour induction works
If you do end up needing to be induced, the process involves a number of steps, though you usually won’t go through all of them:
Once you’re ready to go into labour, your cervix will open up naturally on its own. However if your cervix shows no signs of dilating and effacing to allow the baby to leave the uterus and enter the birth canal, your doctor will need to get the ripening rolling.
This will be achieved by applying a topical form of the hormone prostaglandin to your cervix. After a few hours this will be enough to get labour and contractions started.
If the amniotic sac is still intact, your doctor may swipe her finger across the fine membranes that connect the amniotic sac. This will get labour started.
This causes the uterus to release prostaglandin, just as it would if labour began naturally. This will cause the cervix to soften and contractions to start.
Rupturing the membrane
When the cervix has already started to dilate and efface on its own, but your water hasn’t broken yet, your doctor might kick-start your contractions by artificially rupturing the membranes.
If neither the prostaglandin gels nor the stripping or rupturing of the membranes has brought on regular contractions within a couple of hours, your doctor will slowly give you the medication Pitocin (a synthetic form of the naturally-occurring hormone oxytocin) via an IV to induce contractions.
How We Can Help
We have experienced maternity staff members and gynaecologists/obstetricians who will run tests during your pregnancy. Contact Pregnancy by Choice today and select the best service that suits your needs and protect your baby from harm.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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