I remember counting down the days during my last month of pregnancy. Swollen feet, difficulty sleeping, and pure anticipation were making me more than ready to have my baby out of my body and into the world. It's hard to stay patience as those last days stretch into weeks that seem to go on longer than ever before. As you creep closer to your due date, it's time to talk with your doctor or midwife about how to induce labor at 39 weeks. Because if everything is developing as it should, then your baby should be ready to make their appearance.
Each practitioner is different about induction policies and methods, so it's up to you to get the conversation started by asking questions. Also, make your needs known — if you can't take being pregnant for one more second, then tell your doctor that you would like to give induction a shot at 39 weeks. Once you agree on a date, you can start to review the ways in which you can be induced by your doctor, either in her office or at the hospital. Knowing your options will help you decide what is right for you.
With your delivery right around the corner, it's time to decide which one of these five ways to induce labor at 39 weeks is the right choice for you and your baby.
1. Break The Water
Your water doesn't always break on its own, but your doctor can step in a makes this happen. According to What To Expect's website, the doctor will "break the bag of waters that surrounds your baby manually using an instrument that looks like a long crochet hook with a sharp tip." Don't let the description scare you off — this trick can get things moving along and sounds way more painful than it is.
2. Foley Catheter
Since you are far enough along in your pregnancy that your baby is developed enough to deliver, your doctor may use a technique using a balloon and a small catheter. As Baby Center explained, the catheter and balloon are inserted, then the balloon is filled with water to put pressure on your cervix, encouraging labor to start.
3. Membrane Stripping
Although this sounds like the name of a bad science porn flick, it's actually a common method doctors use to induce labor. Technically, stripping the membranes is more a gentle nudge to get your body rolling into the delivery zone than a relied upon induction method. As Mayo Clinic reported, "with this technique, your health care provider inserts his or her gloved finger beyond the cervical opening and rotates it to separate the amniotic sac from the wall of your uterus."
If your induction is scheduled, you'll likely be given pictocin to induce your labor. Pitocin is the pharmaceutical name for a drug that mimics the production of oxytocin, according to the website for the American Pregnancy Association. It's been proven that oxytocin can prompt contractions, so this is a very common induction medicine, given by IV drip.
If you'd rather skip the IV, you may want to ask for cervidil instead of pitocin. Cervidil is a medication that contains prostaglandin, a hormone which readies the cervix for labor, according to Parents magazine, and is given as a suppository in the vagina.