A normal delivery is one where the pregnant woman goes into the labour process naturally, and the baby is born through the vaginal passage with minimal or no medical intervention. Sometimes, though, labour is induced, which means starting the birth process artificially through medical intervention. While it is true that doctors induce labour in case they suspect any medical complications during delivery, there are instances where patients too can choose elective induction. This is when labour is induced without medical reasons or as an emergency procedure.
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An increasing number of people opt for elective induction, usually to accommodate the baby’s arrival to suit their busy schedules or have the baby’s birth fall on a particular date. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends that labour be induced only when it is more risky for the baby to remain inside the mother’s uterus, than to be born.
There are many medical reasons when doctors might choose to induce labour. These include:
A bag of Syntosin drug used for inducing labor hanging on a stand[/caption]During your interactions with your doctor, you might have talked about the delivery process – which could include natural or induced labor. Doctors use various ways to induce labor. Some of them include:
Here suppositories are inserted into the vagina during the evening. This causes the uterus to go into labour by morning. One advantage of this method is that the mother can freely move around the labor room and feels more at ease.
A minute disadvantage is that administration of vaginal prostaglandins might lead to over/ hyper stimulation of the uterus thereby reducing oxygen supply to the baby. This is when you are administered with medications for slowing the contractions down.
A woman’s body naturally produces the oxytocin hormone to stimulate contractions. Oxytocin medications are given intravenously at low doses to stimulate contractions.
Oxytocin can initiate labour that might not start on its own and can speed up the pace of labour. However, there is also a chance that labour can progress too quickly, causing contractions to become difficult to manage without pain medication. The doctor may choose to discontinue oxytocin if the contractions become too powerful and come close together.
It is possible to induce labour, or artificially stimulate childbirth, using various methods. One such technique is Artificial Rupture Of Membranes or AROM. When the bag of water within the uterus, called the amniotic sac, breaks or ruptures, the body increases the production of the prostaglandin hormone to speed up contractions. However, in certain cases, doctors might suggest rupturing the amniotic membrane artificially and induce labor.
During AROM, a thin and sterile plastic hook is brushed against the membranes just inside the cervix causing the baby’s head to move down against the cervix. This usually causes contractions to become stronger and releases a gush of warm amniotic fluid from the vagina.
AROM also has its set of advantages. These include:
AROM also has its set of disadvantages. These include:
There is another natural way to induce labour, which is by nipple stimulation. It can be done manually or with an electric breastfeeding pump. Stimulation of the nipple releases the oxytocin hormone, which causes contractions. The concept is the same as when a baby nurses right after birth, stimulating contractions, which slows bleeding.
You might choose to have elective induction because of certain reasons then it is advisable to discuss this with your doctor well in advance. In fact, even if you do not plan to have elective induction, you can talk about inducing labour and things you need to be prepared for.
Being well informed always helps, especially when you are welcoming your baby into the world. So do not hesitate to clarify any doubt with your doctor.
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