Being pregnant often comes with a head full of worries, primarily surrounding labor and delivery. There are many options when it comes to birthing and many women spend a lot of time deciding between hospitals, birthing centers, and home births. There's even a possibility you may not get to choose due to pregnancy complications or emergency labor situations. And, if you are induced for medical reasons, you may have even more questions. Like, what does the inducing process look like, and what should you prepare for? Or even, what happens if you're induced and nothing happens?
Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, OB-GYN, tells Romper, "Most inductions can last 12 to 48 hours. If a patient is induced and does not make any cervical change after a specified period of time, a C-section will be done for what is considered a failed induction or failure to progress." But Richardson adds that when a patient is induced for labor, there are several different methods available to help the induced labor along. "There are medications, such as Cytotec or Cervidil, that are used for cervical ripening or to help the cervix soften. There are mechanical devices, such as balloons or laminaria, that help the cervix dilate." So even if your induced labor seems to be slow, there are ways to try to get it going.
For some women, inducing labor is the best way to keep mom and baby healthy, as noted by The March of Dimes. Your doctor might recommend inducing if you have medical issues, pregnancy complications, or if your baby is over 42 weeks gestation. There are a few ways to induce labor, and the method used for you would depend on your situation and how quickly your labor needs to get going.
Your doctor might start by stripping your membranes (separating the amniotic sac from the wall of your uterus) or breaking your water (breaking the amniotic sac). These procedures might be uncomfortable, and you may cramp and spot after. But both could jumpstart labor in a more natural way than medications.
If your labor needs to be induced medically, you could be given a medication to ripen and thin your cervix. You could also be started on an IV of Pitocin, used by a lot of doctors to induce labor. Pitocin is the man-made form of oxytocin, a hormone your body makes to help start contractions, according to The March of Dimes. Pitocin might upset your stomach a bit or make you have really strong contractions, really quickly. If possible, talk to your doctor beforehand so you know what to expect and how to prepare.
If your body is truly not ready for labor, there is a possibility that the induction may not work, and you could be sent home, according to Parents. Or if your water has been broken, you could be sent in for a C-section due to risk of infection. Inductions are not often quick, especially with first babies, and you should be prepared to labor for at least 24 hours. Because of the unique nature of labors and deliveries, there is no real way to tell what to expect or how your induction might go. It might take over a day, or you could have a baby in your arms within four hours.
Being prepared and knowledgeable is one way women find peace in pregnancy, which can be full of so many unknowns. Talking to your doctor about the possibility of situations related to your pregnancy can give you a good sense of what's going on. But too much information can bring on so much more anxiety. So, after you research a bit, remember to take a break, have a snack, take a bath, or do anything else that helps your relax. After all, rest and peace is good for both you and your baby.
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