You may have heard about some pregnant women who have had their labors induced to begin the birthing process. Inducing labor is when doctors and OB-GYNs trigger labor and the birthing process through medications or via other medical interventions. In most cases, labor is induced when there are complications that pose risk to either you or your baby and it is considered dangerous for your baby to remain inside your uterus. However, labor is sometimes induced to accommodate either a mother’s or doctor’s busy schedule.
Labor may be induced when the following occurs:
- Your baby is at risk for not getting oxygen or the nutrients they need from your placenta.
- You are experiencing a birth complication such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, heart disease, or bleeding.
- Your amniotic sac has ruptured but labor still hasn’t started within a 24- to 48-hour window.
- You continue to be pregnant for more than 40 weeks.
- You are suffering from an infection of the uterus known as chorioamnionitis.
Methods for inducing labor
There are several methods for inducing labor, the most common of which are through medications, artificial rupture of your amniotic sac, and nipple stimulation.
Common medications used for inducing labor are prostaglandin and oxytocin. Prostaglandin is available in the form of suppositories that are inserted into the vagina during the evening hours, which triggers labor by morning. The benefit to taking prostaglandin is that you will have mobility, and can walk around the delivery room before labor. Oxytocin on the other hand, is administered via IV at doses low enough to stimulate contractions. Pregnant women will produce oxytocin naturally during their pregnancies to stimulate contractions and initiate the labor process.
When labor is induced via artificial rupture of the amniotic sac, your OB-GYN will insert a sterile, thin, plastic hook up through your vagina and brush it against the membranes just inside your cervix. Your baby will then move their head downward and cause you to experience stronger contractions, resulting in the rupturing of your amniotic sac and the release of amniotic fluid.
Finally, labor can be induced through nipple stimulation, which triggers the release of oxytocin and the start of contractions. Nipples can be stimulated manually or with the use of an electric breastfeeding pump to jump-start contractions.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.