Induction of labour
When inducing labour is needed
I would have to say that of the 3 children I have brought into this world, the most memorable experience would have to have been the arrival of my first baby and only son, Ryan. Being my first pregnancy, I was paranoid throughout the 9 months I carried him. I did everything by the book – eating right, staying healthy, no caffeine and no excessive weight gain (something not carried through to my subsequent pregnancies!!). At 16 weeks, I was asked if I wanted to know the sex of my baby. Being the inquisitive type that I am, of course I wanted to know. A Girl!! To tell you the truth, I wasn’t fussed either way, I just wanted a healthy baby. However the idea of a girl grew on me more when I imagined all those shopping trips together.
On the Sunday evening, we went out to dinner with friends. I duly packed my hospital bag into the car, to much mockery from everyone about my paranoia. Dinner was uneventful and we returned home. Now, those of you who have been pregnant before will understand that during pregnancy, especially in the last few months, you start to feel like you are in someone else’s body. You have this huge belly, you can’t walk as fast anymore, you need to used the loo every 5 minutes, you have mood swings, you can’t sleep properly, you wake up at odd times during the night etc. Well, at 03h00 on Monday, the 19th of February, I woke up in a pool of water. That’s the final straw I thought. I am now incontinent too! Frustrated (and a little embarrassed), I waddled off to the bathroom. I soon realised that my waters had in fact broken and that it was time. Some strange calm descended on me and I took a leisurely shower, got dressed and woke my husband up to ask him if he wouldn’t mind taking me to the hospital. I have never seen a man go from zero to 100 as fast as he did – 10 minutes later we were in the car speeding to the hospital. In hindsight, we could have stopped for a coffee and something to eat on the way but we were first time parents and the fear of the unknown was paramount.
At 07h00 my doctor arrived and I started to relax a little. Still no contractions so a drip was set up for inducing labour. After the first contraction hit, I called for the nurse to bring back the doctor with his syringe and QUICKLY. No way was I doing this without assistance. I know that I gave in too easily but let’s face it, modern medicine is an amazing thing and if you don’t need to feel any pain, why should you! I almost changed my mind when I saw the needle but pain took over and before I knew it the epidural was starting to take effect.
My husband, who had not been keen at all to watch the birth given his likelihood of fainting when seeing blood, was transfixed. He watched every minute of the inducing lobour and birth, and was fascinated by these miracles. So much so that he forgot that he needed to pay me the odd bit of attention to assist with breathing. So much for Prenatal classes!! After 15 minutes of pushing and panting, an episiotomy and forceps, the doctor announced that I had a healthy 3,4kg baby BOY!!! A boy that would remain nameless for a few hours since we had not even considered a boys name at all. He was beautiful and he was perfect in every possible way. Aside from the small cry he made on his entrance, he settled quickly and was whisked off to be cleaned up. In the past 11 years, Ryan has not given me any trouble at all. He was a textbook baby reaching all his milestones at exactly the right time. He has grown into an affectionate, loving and kind boy despite his somewhat overprotective and paranoid mother.
Induction is most often used if your baby is overdue or if your doctor feels that your health or your baby’s health is at risk. Your placenta starts to decrease in efficiency after about 41 weeks and may compromise your baby’s health by not delivering enough oxygen and food.
Administering oxytocin via an intravenous drip may induce your labour if it has not started naturally. The use of this synthetic hormone is supposed to replicate your own hormones that your body would produce if it had started labour by itself. You may have the drip inserted throughout your entire labour and birth, if this is the case check with your medical staff that you will still have freedom to move around for an active labour and birth.
If your labour is slow or your contractions have stopped your doctor or midwife may recommend using the hormone oxytocin, administered via a drip, to help speed up or restart labour. This will usually bring on strong, intense contractions.
Prostaglandin gels are commonly used as a first method of induction. They are inserted into your vagina and are designed to encourage your cervix to soften and begin the dilation process. You will often be asked to come to the hospital in the evening where the medical staff will insert the gel and then usually allowed to return home, and hopefully start your labour.
For more information see Childbirth.