Medical Techniques to Induce Labor
Pregnancy can be a very enjoyable and exciting time for any couple, but it can also be very tough to have to wait nine months before you can see your little one.
It can be even harder if your due date has come and gone with still no action. If your baby seems to be taking his own sweet time to make his entrance, you and your partner may be considering having labor induced.
Many couples choose to have their labor induced, especially if they are long past their due date or if they are experiencing any underlying pregnancy complications. So, if you are still waiting for baby to show up, speak with your healthcare provider about the possibility of having your labor induced.
What is Labor Induction?
Many pregnant women choose to have labor induced, particularly if they are past their due date or if they are suffering from additional pregnancy complications.
There are numerous techniques used to induce labor, and these can be performed at your local health clinic or in hospital. Any mechanical or medicinal treatment that is used to artificially trigger labor is a type of labor induction.
Labor induction appears to be becoming more and more popular. In fact, between 15% and 30% of pregnant women choose to have labor induced with one or more of their pregnancies.
Techniques Used to Induce Labor
Health care providers use a variety of methods to induce labor. Some techniques focus on preparing the cervix for labor, while others directly trigger labor contractions. Depending upon the dilation of your cervix, your health care provider may recommend one technique over the other, or you may receive a combination of techniques.
Dilating the Cervix
In order to progress into active labor, your cervix needs to thin out and dilate. Sometimes, this can be a very slow process, which is why there are techniques available to help this dilation along.
Prostaglandin Gels and Suppositories
If your cervix is not effacing quickly enough, your health care provider can help things along by applying a prostaglandin gel to the inside of your vagina. Prostaglandins are special hormones that help to stimulate contractions, thereby softening your cervix.
Using a syringe, the prostaglandin gel is placed around your cervix. A prostaglandin suppository, much like a tampon, can also be inserted into your vagina, producing the same effect.
These gels are highly effective at preparing the cervix for labor, and sometimes even kick-start contractions. However, these gels have been associated with nausea, fever, diarrhea and occasionally, postpartum hemorrhaging.