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13th Jul 2018

Are you being induced? 9 things to expect before you are

What you need to know.


During my pregnancy, I always presumed (a foolish thing to do when pregnant) that I wouldn’t go past my due date so wouldn’t have to think about being induced. (Although, induction doesn’t necessarily just happen because you are overdue.)

This was mostly because I have a family history of very quick and early births, but also because I wasn’t in the slightest bit ready for the baby’s arrival and could have done with the extra time to prep. Safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t even get near 40 weeks, let alone go past it, you can probably imagine my surprise when the consultant began talking about inducing me if I went so much as even a few days over the due date.

In the end, my daughter made her grand entrance five days EARLY (see, mums do know best), but by that point I had spent a lot of time mentally preparing and gearing up to being induced. (Also, my waters did need to be broken, which can be one step of the induction process and was, personally, not painful.) Waiting can be nerve wracking, but knowledge really is power and it definitely helped me to get ready by reading the medical facts and talking to friends who had been there and were positive about the experience.

Hopefully, you’re more organised in general than I am, but here are nine things to think about before being induced.

1. Reasons

You might be induced because:

  • You are overdue
  • Your waters have broken
  • You or your baby have a health problem

2. Positives

If you do have a birth plan in mind, it helps to concentrate on the positives of being induced. Like the fact that the risks involved in continuing the pregnancy are greater than the risks involved in induction. At the end of the day, all that really matters is the health of you and the baby.

3. Plans

If you have been told you are going to be induced, you can enjoy the fact that you can plan a little more than if the birth was spontaneous. For example, you won’t have to worry about any mad dashes to the hospital.

4. Sweep

Before labour is induced, you should be offered a membrane sweep, which may help bring on labour. A sweep has been shown to increase the the chances of labour starting naturally within 48 hours and can reduce the need for other methods of induction.

5. Drugs

Prostaglandins are drugs that kick start labour and are inserted into the vagina as a gel. More than one dose may be needed to induce labour. Repeat doses are given every six-eight hours approximately to a maximum of two doses.

6. Breaking waters

Amniotomy is a method of induction in which the waters are artificially broken. The doctor or midwife will use a small hook to break the waters if the amniotic sack does not burst on its own. This is usually painless.

7. Drip

Oxytocin may be required if prostaglandin and/or breaking the waters hasn’t induced labour. This drug is given using a drip into a vein in the arm and causes the womb to contract.

8. Pain

Induced labour can usually be more painful than labour that starts on its own, but pain relief options are not normally restricted by being induced.

9. Perspective

Being induced might not coincide with your birth plan (if you have one), but it definitely helped me to keep focusing on the most important thing, which is that the baby arrives safe and is well.