Dr. Morice is an experienced OB/GYN in Morgan City, LA. He has helped countless women carry and deliver beautiful, healthy babies and also specializes in tubal reversal surgery. Today we will discuss labor induction.
What is labor induction?
Labor induction is when a physician uses medicine or other techniques to start labor before it happens naturally. This article explains why labor may be induced and the various techniques that doctors use.
Why is labor induced?
Dr. Morice may recommend labor induction for a number of reasons.
- If you are two weeks past your due date but haven’t yet gone into labor, labor will need to be induced. Waiting longer than 2 weeks poses serious risks to the baby. An aged placenta, for example, can deprive the baby of the proper nutrients.
- If your water breaks but you don’t go into labor within 24 hours. A broken water means ruptured membranes and therefore less protection. This poses serious risks of infection for your baby and yourself.
- You may have too little amniotic fluid or dysfunctional placenta, hindering your baby’s growth and development.
- The presence of certain illnesses can pose risks for both you and your baby’s health, causing labor induction to be the safest option. These include high blood pressure and diabetes.
- You develop severe preeclampsia during pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes blood vessels to constrict. This can lead to reduced blood flow to your baby and cause serious problems for both of you.
- You have a history of stillbirths.
- Practical reasons, such as living far from the birthing center. This, however, is only done when necessary.
How is it done?
Labor can be induced with medication, by rupturing the membranes, or naturally. The type of induction used depends on whether or not the woman is dilated and other factors.
- Medication: Physicians can use prostaglandins to cause a woman’s cervix to dilate, or ripen. Dilation may cause contractions to occur naturally. If not, oxytocin is administered to stimulate contractions and speed up the labor process. Oxytocin is the hormone that is naturally released by a woman to stimulate contractions.
- Artificial rupture of the membranes: If a woman is dilated, a physician can artificially rupture her amniotic sac, or “break her water”, which causes the release of prostaglandin. This often is enough to cause contractions to begin. If contractions don’t start naturally, the physician will administer oxytocin. Labor needs to begin within 24 hours after rupture of the amniotic sac.
- Naturally: Nipple stimulation manually or with a breast pump can stimulate the release of oxytocin, which may cause contractions to begin. It is possible to over stimulate the uterus, however, so this should only be done with the guidance of a physician. Why does this work? After labor, nipple stimulation from the suckling of a baby leads to oxytocin release, which helps the woman stop bleeding and her uterus to return to it’s normal size.
There are multiple risks and benefits of labor induction, and the decision to induce varies on a case-by-case basis. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of labor induction with you.
If you are looking for a skilled OB/GYN or are interested in tubal reversal surgery, please contact our office at (985) 702-BABY or email@example.com.