Labor induction, or induced labor as it is known, is an alternative used by the health care provider who attends the pregnant woman whose gestational age exceeds 40 weeks.
This technique is used in certain and certain cases, since fortunately nature has endowed women with a biological clock that tells them when it is time to give birth, otherwise this medical maneuver could be resorted to.
It is applied only if necessary.
If two weeks have already passed beyond the normal gestation period, or if the attending physician believes that labor induction is warranted, this method can be used to trigger contractions and labor.
It is important to be informed about the possible situations in which labor can be induced:
- If it is already 42 weeks and there are still no signs of uterine dilatation.
- If you have gestational diabetes.
- If it is presumed that the baby may present fetal distress.
- If the amniotic sac has ruptured and contractions are not yet present.
- If there is evidence of placental abruption.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have an infection in the uterus.
When can it be performed without affecting fetal health?
It is not recommended before the 39th week, until that time you should wait for the birth to be triggered naturally. From the 40th week onwards it could be requested or suggested for various reasons:
- For suspicion and avoidance of fetal macrosomia.
- Possibility of decreased amniotic fluid.
- If there are certain health implications such as kidney problems, or obesity.
What can happen during a labor induction?
There are a few methods used for such an induction, while it is true that physical exercise helps at the time of labor, pelvic floor preparation, breaths, and positions for welcoming the new baby, none of this counts as labor induction.
Here’s what to expect from labor induction:
- Ripening of the cervix by synthetic prostaglandins which, when placed inside the vagina, soften or thin the cervix making it permeable to begin a dilation process.
- Breaking the amniotic sac delicately with the appropriate instrument and taking care that the head of the fetus is far from the cervix, the amniotic sac is broken to cause the fetus to descend and to start the delivery process.
- Intravenous medication better known as pitocin, which is a synthetic version of oxytocin, a hormone that makes the uterus contract.
No risks or side effects.
Health professionals are trained to perform these procedures, the expertise of the profession gives them the safety and knowledge to perform these procedures when deemed necessary.
This is why it is very important that the pregnant woman attends her prenatal check-ups and can be informed step by step of her uterine evolution and the state of health of her baby.