Induction of Labor

But I Didn’t Plan A Labor Induction

Induction Wasn’t In The Birth Plan

You’re expecting your first baby. You took a birth class that prepared you for a routine labor where your body begins labor on its own. Your notes were meticulous on how to tell when you are in labor and when to head to the hospital or birth center. In your opinion,  labor and birth are a completely normal experience. You trust your body and you trust that labor happens a certain way. In your opinion, birth is not a medical event, but you feel safest having a baby in the hospital just in case.

And so you wait patiently for baby. By 39 weeks, you are so ready for baby to come. Because all you want to do is sleep on your stomach again. You’ve got a bit of pregnancy insomnia, so you stay up late. You are propped up against the headboard with an awesome birth book in your hands and a steaming cup of hot chocolate on the night stand. You’re so excited that baby can be here literally at any moment.


And then baby’s due date comes, and goes, and you’re still pregnant.

At your 40 week appointment, your provider tells you that it’s normal for some babies to take their time, but at 41 weeks, it’s time to start talking about induction.

What the heck is induction?

Induction is the process of using medical assistance to cause labor to begin so that the baby will be born soon. It is usually due to risk factors for the mother and baby where it becomes less risky to labor sooner rather than later. Common reasons are post date pregnancies, preeclampsia, heart disease, placenta deterioration, low levels of amniotic fluid, distress in the baby, and so on.

But induction wasn’t part of the plan. It’s not what you envisioned. And so you ask your OB/GYN what induction is and how induction is done. When they start talking about Pitocin and Cervidil and other things that are foreign to you, your head starts to spin and you feel overwhelmed. Your doctor starts talking about the potential of manually breaking your water by using an amniohook and you start thinking, “You’re going to do what?! Are you going to use tweezers?! How does this work?!”

You 100% trust your OB/GYN, so you agree to the induction. All you want is for baby to get here healthy.

Common Induction Options

The normal course of labor induction involves an IV that administers Pitocin (the synthetic form of Oxytocin). Oxytocin is produced within your body and helps stimulate uterine contractions. Pitocin can mimic that stimulation when Oxytocin is not present. We all know that labor is a series of contractions and cervix factors such as dilation and effacement. So in addition to Pitocin, the provider gives you medication such as Cytotec to help your body dilate, or uses Cervidil (a gooey tampon looking thing with prostaglandins that sits next to your cervix to help soften your cervix), or a variety of other methods that are either to assist with establishing a contraction pattern that will get baby here, or work to prepare your cervix to thin and open.

It’s never a bad idea to ask your provider about their routine induction options, and common practices for the hospital you are delivering at.  That way, you can research the benefits and risks associated with each step, and read about what each technique feels like.

You Did It!

The birth of your baby may feel like a whirlwind (it kinda feels like that even without an induction). Before you know it, the day will be over, and the soft light of the sunset taking place outside will cast an amazing glow on the face of the new love of your life who is nestled safely on your chest.

You did it! Baby is here!