The Art of Inductions
When you first find out you are pregnant, you may immediately start envisioning the perfect labor and child birth. You will be at home, your water will break, contractions will start, you will show up at the hospital, have a quick labor and delivery, and then your baby will be born! However, most of the time, this image of “perfect” labor is not the reality.
Quite often, a woman will have to face the possibility, or reality, of an induction to get her labor started and to deliver her baby. Inductions can be a welcome relief to some women, while others dread them. Inductions are performed for various reasons. Sometimes they are performed because of a problem in the pregnancy. Other times, factors may include the size of the baby, or because the woman is past the 40 week mark of pregnancy and labor has not started on its own. Inductions can also be done if a woman’s water has broken, but she has not started having contractions, or she was having contractions and they stopped.
There are many ways your doctor or midwife may attempt an induction if it is needed at the end of your pregnancy. If your cervix is not dilating and effacing on its’ own your provider may choose to insert a pill called cervidil that has a drug in it called prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is one of the natural chemicals that your body produces that plays a part in the ripening of your cervix.
If your cervix is already ripe, or after you have had the cervidil and it has done its’ job, your doctor or midwife might choose to go ahead and break your water. Many times just the breaking of your water will make contractions start and labor progress on its’ own, without any further medical intervention.
If breaking your water does not work, then the doctor may begin administering the synthetic form of the hormone that your body naturally makes, oxytocin, which is called pitocin. Pitocin generally will start labor contractions, however it can cause labor to be very painful. Most people who are administered pitocin end up needing pain medication during labor, in order to get through labor. For the women who want to go natural, with no pain meds, pitocin is normally not something that they want to have to help induce labor.
Induction is not a necessity in all labors, and many women who are lucky will get their picture perfect labor and delivery. It is always best however to know and research all the possibilities ahead of time so that when the time does come, if you have problems getting labor started, you will know all your options.
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