There are several reasons why your baby may need to be induced. It can be related to the health of the mother or baby. Most commonly it is because the baby is overdue.
Methods of Induction of Labour:
This is a hormone gel given to prepare the cervix for the onset of labour.
The gel is inserted into the vagina following a gentle examination.
This may need to be repeated several times
Artificial Rupture of Membranes (ARM)
If the cervix is favourable, the membranes may be broken during a vaginal examination using a small hook called an Amnihook.
Sometimes contractions start soon after the membranes are ruptured. If this doesn't happen, a hormone "drip" will be offered.
A plan will be made with you about how soon this can be offered. This may be immediately after ARM or a few hours later depending on individual circumstances.
With both methods of induction we closely monitor the baby both before and after starting, and throughout the procedure.
The most appropriate method of induction for you will depend on several things including,reason for induction,parity,gestation, maternal age,how favourable the cervix is etc This will be decided by the obstetrician and/or midwife following discussion with the mother.
Commonly Asked Questions about Induction
1) How long does it take after starting induction before the baby is born?
This varies with every case. It will depend on many things including the reason for induction,the method used , whether the mother has had a baby before etc .For a first time mother being induced because the baby is overdue,it is not uncommon to take two days until labour is established.
2) Do I have to stay in bed?
Generally we would encourage mothers to be up and about,especially first time mothers being induced with Prostin gel. You will be free to go out of the ward ,and go for a walk in the hospital grounds.
Obviously with a hormone drip in your arm, mobility will be restricted. But you need not be in bed the whole time.
It is perfectly feasible to have a drip in and sit on a stool ,chair or birthing ball for a time.The most important thing is that we can monitor your baby, and that you are comfortable.
Generally, most mums start off on the bed, then they get up and change position and get back onto the bed later.
3) Eating and Drinking
Most mothers are allowed to eat and drink in labour. Sometimes we may need to restrict fluids and diet. Generally most mothers do not want to eat large meals in labour.We would encourage lots of fluids ,fruit and smaller meals. Some people like to bring in cereal bars and snacks
4) Will I always be "started off" on the day given to me?
Emergency situations can occur at any time ,day or night. Sometimes there may not be a bed available at the time you are asked to come in. This is why we always prefer you to ring through to the Labour Ward before leaving home.
If a bed is not available, but we can see space becoming free later, as mothers go home or to the Post Natal Ward, then we will ask you to ring again later.
The midwives will do their utmost to get mothers started on the given day, but delays inevitably occur, and occasionally inductions may need to be delayed until the following day.