What happens during Induction of Labor?
Updated: Oct 5
Many women in India are suggested Induction of Labor like a candy! While reasons for Induction should be significantly medical or indicating 'high risk' for mother and baby, this is being suggested routinely due to a variation of normal. Everything normal in labor and birth has been deemed a potential risk based on a statistics. Think about it, if the authorities made a suggestion to you that since stats said that yesterday these many people died while crossing the road, so for your safety we might take you by a plane even when you are completely capable of walking and potentially crossing the road without any danger to your life. Would not you think this is bizzare? The same chronology is being loosely used in Birth even when you as an individual have no risks and can potentially birth your baby fine and healthy , the stats make you a candidate for intervention and hence your individual potential is overlooked.
Chances are if you are not well read, you will quickly give in to the fear projected at you and take the plane to birth your baby, a huge reason I recommend Childbirth Classes!
First let us understand what is Induction and how its done ?
Induction of labor is a medical procedure in which labor is initiated artificially before it begins naturally. This procedure is typically performed when it is deemed necessary for the health of the pregnant person or the fetus.
Some common reasons and methods for inducing labor:
Post dates: Well, well very easy to call a mother post date because the date in itself is an estimate . So be wary of this. A post date is a government / state protocol but may not be a danger for you. Your baby going post your EDD most likesly means it needs more time to bake in there. Same for low for Gestational Dates (because these dates are mostly inaccurate as ultrasounds have a considerable error margin) , these babies will come at a time they are ready.
Intervening in the onset of labor is really puncturing the entire process.
Medical Conditions: Fetal Distress, even in this, one would logically not consider 'Induction' as it further stresses the baby. If a baby really is in distress, a surgery is a safer way for it to be born.
Infection may be a reason for induction but honestly anything wrong with the body , the first thing the smart body does is cause the body to go into labor!
A body going into Pre-term labor is mostly because the body is no longer the safest for the baby. There is immense wisdom in learning the body is intelligent in consciously conceiving a soul , protecting it and if there is an issue, miscarriages or pre-term birth are common. This is where the advancement of science comes handy in helping baby survive in the world but not in an otherwise healthy , self sufficient process.
PROM: Water breaking before labor has begun. This should not be a reason for Induction but a reason to wait and observe the mother, because water breaking even upto 2 weeks before labor begins is normal. It is a signal that labor will eventually begin. The problem is we are too quick with our tools to intervene that we have forgotten what normal looks like outside pharmacy funded research paper. In a situation like this, it is important to learn to make informed decisions.
Methods for induction:
Cervical Ripening: This is often the first step in induction. Medications or devices are used to soften and dilate the cervix to prepare it for labor. Common methods include prostaglandin medications or the use of a mechanical device called a Foley catheter.
Oxytocin (Pitocin): Once the cervix is sufficiently ripened, synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) may be administered through an IV to stimulate uterine contractions. The dosage is adjusted to achieve regular and effective contractions.
Artificial Rupture of Membranes (Amniotomy): A healthcare provider may manually break the amniotic sac if it hasn't ruptured naturally, which can help stimulate labor.
Membrane Stripping: This is a less invasive method where a healthcare provider sweeps a gloved finger between the cervix and the amniotic sac to separate them slightly, which may stimulate contractions.
Prostaglandin Suppositories or Gels: Prostaglandin medications can be administered vaginally to help ripen the cervix and initiate contractions.
Pre-requisites for an Induction
There are reasons for so many Inductions failing to do its job , the promise of still a try at natural births. There are a few research papers, only few that question how it is being given. Here in this episode, I break it down:
A moist and effacing , thinning Cervix - indications of body ready for labor and hence for induction else it does not have enough receptors to receive the induction well
Bishop' score comes handy in assesing the body's readiness.
Risks of an Induction
Induction should not be offered to everyone like a candy. There should be an extreme caution at when and how it is suggested for the reasons explained in the podcast above.