|How does the doctor induce labour?
There are a few different methods that your doctor may
use to induce your labour. Sometimes ripening of the cervix,
which makes it soft and easily able to dilate, is all that
is required. This is usually achieved by inserting a substance
into the vagina which causes softening. The procedure can
be repeated after several hours if it is not initially effective.
In many cases this process will be very effective and the
softening of the cervix will be enough to start the labour
However, if this is not the case, the doctor will either
break the water, strip the membranes or administer a hormone
such as oxytoxin which starts the contractions. The breaking
of the water is achieved using a hooked instrument. This
may cause discomfort but is unlikely to be painful. Often
it is not felt at all. It can be a simple way to get the
contractions started. The stripping of the membranes involves
pulling the membranes away from the cervix. The membranes
do not usually rupture, but the procedure can be painful
for some women.
The oxytoxin is generally administered by intravenous drip
and can be regulated very precisely. The contractions usually
start within half an hour, and are strong and regular. Thus
by controlling the drip, the number of contractions can
be accurately controlled in order to achieve a good effective
labour which does not overwhelm the woman. For this reason
a small dose is usually given initially, in order to judge
the response of the uterus. The amount can then be slowly
increased until the desired level of contractions is reached.
The process will be constantly monitored by trained personnel.
It is important that you communicate about your experience
to them, so that you are able to cope with the progress
of the labour and do not feel that you had no choices in
For some women the fact that they had to be induced is
disappointing. The truth is that it does not matter how
the labour started. What does matter is that you are treated
with respect and allowed to participate in the progress
of the labour, until the birth of your healthy baby. Remind
yourself that this is the desired outcome and that there
are times when intervention is necessary to achieve this
outcome. You must treat the labour exactly as you would
treat a naturally occurring labour, and use all the techniques
that you have learnt in classes to cope with the labour.
Labour - Natural induction
Labour - Preparation
Labour - Overdue problems
Labour - Reasons for inducing