Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Inducing Labor - When and Why This Might Be a Good Choice for You

There are several reasons why a doctor might choose to induce labor during a woman's pregnancy. This article will discuss safe methods of inducing labor and the reasons why it is practiced.

Inducing labor is fairly common. If it is more risky for the woman to stay pregnant than delivering the baby then the pregnancy may be induced. Approximately 450,000 births are induced. The reasons vary from overdue babies, chronic high blood pressure in the mother, pre-clampsia, gestational diabetes, intrauterine- growth restriction and Rh- isoimmonization.

If your doctor is considering inducing your labor at your next visit he will probably do a pelvic exam. This will include an evaluation of how ready you are for an induction. The Bishop score might be used to determine whether or not you are ready to be induced. The doctor will look at dilation, effacement, station, consistency and position of the cervix. This helps the doctor to decide if he should induce labor.

Sometimes doctors will ripen the cervix before labor is induced. This means that medication is used to help the cervix soften, thin and dilate.

The two most common ways doctors do this is by using Prepidil Gel and Cervidil. In most cases this is done the day before induction. This is done in the hospital so that the baby can be monitored.

If labor is induced first the cervix is ripened and then the doctor will give you oxytocin (Pitocin) intravenously. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes contractions. A pump connected to the IV controls the amount you are given. This medication is increased gradually until contractions begin. You will be monitored while receiving this so that you don't get too much of it. You will also be monitored for your baby's reaction to your labor.

The medication will help start contractions so you can go into labor. Each woman's labor is different. It might take longer for one woman to go through the process from the ripening of the cervix to the birth of her baby than another woman.

Inducing labor also does not guarantee a vaginal delivery. In some instances, the induction doesn't work. When that happens a C-section is usually necessary.

If your labor is induced I hope this information will help you understand the reasons why and how it is done.

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