The exact type of labor induction used depends on the specific conditions occurring during labor. Even though the procedure has certain risks and limitations, there are usually no consequences for the mother and the baby.
However, labor induction is performed only if there are medical indications that make it necessary. These indications may be a risk to the baby’s health or when childbirth is at least two weeks overdue.
Here are the main types of labor induction used in modem hospitals.
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Stripping the membranes
Your doctor will separate the amniotic sac from the uterus. This is a simple procedure, which can happen at the doctor’s office rather than in an operating room. The separation can be followed by spotting or cramping.
In this case, hormone-like substances called prostaglandins are used to make your cervix softer. This makes it easier for it to open up during labor. Other ways to help the cervix open enough to start delivery are the use of laminaria sticks (or medicine) and using a particular medical appliance called a Foley bulb.
Breaking the waters
In this case, a doctor uses a special instrument to rupture the amniotic sac where the baby develops. This procedure is painless.
Helping the contractions to start
For this, intravenous (drip) and intramuscular injections of oxytocin — a hormone that stimulates labor — are commonly used. The doctor monitors your contraction dynamics and cervical dilation. If these are too slow and there are no contraindications, a decision to induce labor may be made.
Oxytocin intensifies contractions, makes them occur at regular intervals and speeds up cervical dilation and delivery. Its dose is gradually increased to establish active labor. The fetal heart rate is continuously monitored throughout the administration of oxytocin.
Despite the way it sounds, inducing labor does not work immediately, inducing labor may take up to a few days, but in the end, delivery will occur.