Induction of Labor

There are many reasons to induce labor. Unfortunately, the most common reason is “I am tired of being pregnant”.
First, can labor be induced anytime? The answer is no. The cervix has to be ready. In medical term: the cervix has to be “ripe” – during pregnancy, the cervix is firm like the tip of your nose; when labor is near, the cervix softens, like your ear lobe. In order for induction to work, the cervix must be soft and stretchy.
There are ways to medically soften the cervix – with medication called cervidal or cytotec. These medications are sometimes inserted into the cervix the night before an induction to get the cervix ready.
Sex can also soften the cervix. There is an “ingredient” in semen that softens the cervix and oxytocin is released when a woman orgasms – oxytocin is the hormone that brings on contractions. Nipple stimulation also causes release of oxytocin.
Medical reasons for induction: baby is not growing, mom has PIH, membranes are ruptured.
Many times, physicians suggest induction if pregnancy goes over 40 weeks. The logic…..the placenta is only meant to last for 40 weeks. After that, the placenta may start to deteriorate. If this happens, the baby would be deprived of oxygen and nutrients and would be better off outside than in.
The fetal activity test is one way to check baby’s status. Monitors are put on mom to check baby’s heart rate. Mom is asked to push a button when baby moves – this makes a mark on the monitor paper. Baby’s heart rate should increase after movement – just like ours does when we go up stairs. If the heart rate does not increase, it may mean that the placenta is not able to supply the need. If the fetal activity test is not reassuring, there are additional tests such as a biophysical profile to check further.
The moral of this: induction should not be done just because the 40 week mark has been reached. Testing is non invasive and allow for time for the cervix to ripen naturally. Too often, induction is attempted too soon and does not work, and ends with a cesarean section for failure to progress.
I know the end of pregnancy is exhausting, but baby needs those 40 weeks or so to be ready to make their appearance healthy!!

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2 thoughts on “Induction of Labor

  1. I rarely leave comments, but after reading some of the comments
    on this page Induction of Labor | Words from An OB Nurse. I do have 2 questions for
    you if you do not mind. Could it be just me or do some of
    these responses look like they are left by brain dead people?
    πŸ˜› And, if you are writing on other places, I would like to keep up with anything
    fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of all your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    • Thanks for reading and posting. I do not write about this topic anywhere else. FB and Twitter are just personal accounts. I have not been writing on this blog recently. My mother passed away a month ago and I have been very busy – and sad – as I go through her things.
      I really wish that more people ask questions – I am running out of topics to write about πŸ™‚

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