Pregnancy is a 9 month process or 40 weeks for what is considered a normal gestation. And while most pregnancies will follow the normal progress and culminate in a woman going into labor on her own, there will be others that will not.
SOME REASONS FOR INDUCTION
A doctor may decide it is in the best interest for a woman's labor to be induced when continuing on her own may risk the life of the baby or mother.
An overdue baby could also become a concern for the doctor making an admission the only choice. Because allowing the baby to continue on past its due date allows the baby to also continue to grow which may result in difficulties during the natural birthing process, especially if a mother is very petite and has a small pelvis.
Another common reason for inducing labor may be that the woman's membranes have ruptured and yet she is still not going into active labor. This could pose a problem for the baby if delivery does not follow along at a normal rate by introducing infection.
A woman may be in what is called 'stalled labor' and just is not progressing. She may have been in labor a long time and is simply not moving forward but is getting exhausted with no end in sight. This would be a reason a doctor might suggest induction to the expectant mother. To give her that extra help to get things moving.
There are also times when a woman may have developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy and to allow her to continue on waiting for the natural process to take place could put the mother's health at risk. This also puts the baby at risk and may be an important reason for inducing labor.
WHAT METHODS ARE USED TO INDUCE LABOR
Prostaglandin gel is one way that doctors choose to get things going. It is a gel that is applied directly to the cervix. It contains prostaglandin which is a hormone that helps to soften your cervix preparing it for the stretching that will take place during labor. Using this does not cause any pain but has been known to cause a little cramping afterwards.
This gel alone has been enough to move a woman into labor by starting contractions, but usually the prostaglandin gel is used along with Pitocin.
Another common way to admit a woman's labor is to break her water manually. This happens when the doctor uses a special tool shaped like a small hook and it pokes a tiny hole in your amniotic sac. This is a technique used frequently because for the most part, a woman's contracts will start after her water breaks whether naturally or with help.
The last method we will discuss is of course Pitocin. This method is quite well known. Pitocin is a form of oxytocin. This is administered by IV. By giving intravenously it can be monitored and regulated as needed to best meet the need of each mother and her baby.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Now that your labor has been induced you should be well on your way to the next most exciting step and that is the birth of your child. But be aware that while being induced may speed things up it also comes with its drawbacks.
Labor from induction may produce a more painful labor. Or if your body is not quite ready for this it could take longer than expected. And in some cases uterine rupture.
Always ask questions of your doctor. Find out the reasons they suggest induction and make a decision with all of your options in mind. Because if at all possible it is always better to let nature take its course and let labor happen on its own.