Induction of Labour
Induction of labour is the process of starting labour artificially. This may be needed for many reasons, such as high blood pressure, toxaemia or if your waters have broken and you haven’t gone into labour by yourself.
Our specialists usually induce by using prostaglandin gel. This gel contains hormones similar to those produced by your own body which help stimulate labour. The gel works by stimulating the body to produce its own prostaglandins. These hormones work by softening and shortening the cervix. Another method of inducing labour is breaking the waters and using an infusion of a drug called syntocinin.
What happens during Induction?
We will arrange for you to be admitted to the hospital as an in-patient.
Prior to starting the induction, the process will be explained to you and your baby's heart rate will be checked with a CTG monitor. A vaginal examination will then be carried out to check your cervix and to insert the gel. Once the gel is in place you will need to lie on the bed for about half an hour while the baby's heart rate is monitored again.
Usually the gel is repeated every 6 hours. The time it takes for a woman to go into labour varies with each woman. Some women may respond to the first dose of gel while others may need several doses.
You are able to eat and drink and to walk around as you would normally. It is important to drink plenty of fluids so you don't get dehydrated.
The membranes may break by themselves but often they will be broken as part of the induction process. Rupturing the membranes (surgical induction) can help labour to become established and is the second stage of induction. When labour is established, you will be transferred to the Labour and Birthing Suite. Once an induction is commenced it is intended to lead to delivery, so it is not usual practice to send a woman home if contractions do not start straight away.
An IV (intravenous) drip containing another hormone called syntocinon is the 3rd stage of induction and given to help stimulate contractions. You and your baby will continue to be closely monitored.