If you're pregnant, you've probably spent a lot of time thinking about how your baby's birth with go down. And if, like me, you need to be or choose to be induced, you might wonder what to expect. According to experts, your midwife or OB-GYN might choose to use one or more of the different types of inductions depending on a variety of factors, including how far along you are, whether or not your cervix is effaced (thinned out) or dilated (open), your and your baby's health, and your baby's position.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there are five main methods of induction which might be used depending on your Bishop's Score, a number from 0 - 13 that your midwife or OB-GYN will assign your cervix. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), medication might be used to start your labor, including prostaglandins (medications used to "ripen" the cervix) or Pitocin (a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin that induces uterine contractions). According to ACOG, other methods your health care provider might use include manually dilating your cervix with a catheter, stripping your membranes — or placing their finger in your cervix to separate the amniotic sac from the uterus, which causes your body to release natural prostaglandins — and artificially rupturing your membranes, which is also called breaking your water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), induction of labor is growing in popularity. Nearly 24 percent of vaginal births are the result of some form of induction. According to the Mayo Clinic, some medical reasons for induction of labor include having a health condition (such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or a uterine infection), going past your due date, your water breaking without labor starting, or certain health conditions impacting your baby. Some women also choose elective inductions, and some OB-GYNs recommend them because risks to your baby increase past 39 weeks gestation. In the end, you and your health care providers will be able to assess your pregnancy, your health, your baby's health, and determine what's best for you and your birth plan. And if induction is in the cards, you'll probably hear all about the following: