Labor Induction

When a pregnant woman is unable to continue pushing or when a caesarean section (C-section) is not feasible, labor may be induced. Labor induction is a procedure to stimulate uterine contractions before labor begins naturally. The causes for labor induction include:

  • Approaching 2 weeks beyond due date
  • Labor hasn’t started naturally
  • Water has broken, but a woman is not having contractions
  • Infection in the uterus
  • Baby has stopped growing at expected pace
  • Lack of amniotic fluid surrounding baby (oligohydramnios)
    • Leads to lung immaturity
  • Placenta has begun to deteriorate
  • Placenta peels away from inner wall of uterus before delivery
    • Partial or completely
  • Associated medical condition putting the baby at risk
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Hypo/hyperthyroidism.

Risks associated with labor induction are:

  • Need for C-section
  • Premature birth
  • Low heart rate (bradycardia)
    • Diminish your baby’s oxygen supply
  • Infection for mother and baby
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Uterine rupture
  • Bleeding after delivery.

Labor induction is not for:

  • Women with prior C-section
  • Placenta blocking the cervix – placenta previa
  • Baby is lying crosswise in uterus – transverse fetal life
  • Active genital herpes infection (HSV 2)
  • Birth canal too small to allow for normal birth.

The process may only be performed in a hospital with appropriate monitoring. Women who reside in Denver should visit the Denver Holistic Center for more information. Here are some things the physician will do beforehand:

  • Strip or sweep the amniotic membranes
  • Ripen the cervix – using synthetic prostaglandins
  • Manually break a pregnant woman’s water – amniotomy or rupturing the membranes
  • Intravenous medication – oxytocin to induce labors or prevent hemorrhaging.

 

Figure 1 – This is how labor induction is done.

Figure 1 – This is how labor induction is done.

Figure 2 – Different stages of labor.3 Stage I (up to full dilation: Latent Phase [contractions → 4 cm] and Active Phase [4-10 cm]), Stage II (full dilation → Delivery), Stage III (Delivery of the placenta due to PG-F, blood gush → cord lengthens → fundus firms).

Figure 2 – Different stages of labor.3 Stage I (up to full dilation: Latent Phase [contractions → 4 cm] and Active Phase [4-10 cm]), Stage II (full dilation → Delivery), Stage III (Delivery of the placenta due to PG-F, blood gush → cord lengthens → fundus firms).

Conclusively, this is a risky procedure and each and every pregnant woman should be made fully aware of the risks and impediments.