Induction of Labor
What is it?
Induction of labor is a process by which labor is artificially induced by various medications or devices. Essentially, it is an attempt to get your body to go into labor when it is not ready for labor to occur on its own.
Why Should Labor be Induced?
Most of the time, induction is reserved for patients with medical problems or by the baby with certain conditions making continuation of the pregnancy to or beyond the due date less than optimal. See High Risk Pregnancies. Most patients with high risk conditions are induced between 39–40 weeks of pregnancy. Occasionally, patients may have significant conditions. Continuation of pregnancy is dangerous to the mother or baby's health. These patients may be induced before 39 weeks or at anytime in the pregnancy to ensure the mother, or the baby's health. If a patient does not go into spontaneous labor by 41 weeks, induction of labor will be recommended. Sometimes, patients are induced because of extenuating social circumstances or hardships. This is not done routinely. Therefore, discuss with the OB Provider as soon as possible.
When Should Labor be Induced?
If you are a candidate for induction, your provider will reserve an induction date for you, and will instruct you to call L&D at the appropriate time of date. Call Labor and Delivery (915 472-4295/6367) a few hours prior to your scheduled induction. The Labor & Delivery staff will let you know if there are room available or if your induction needs to be rescheduled at a later time due to space issues.
Will I be guaranteed a space at L&D the day/evening of my induction?
- No. Most inductions are on a time-space-availability basis. Inductions will only commence as scheduled if we can ensure safety of all patients on the unit.
- If it is not safe for your induction, the L&D staff will reschedule your induction at the next available time.
- Most inductions are rescheduled to be on the same day, but at a later time. Occasionally, it may be rescheduled 1–2 days later.
The 2–3 days before your scheduled induction, be very flexible and be available. You may be asked to come in for the induction at an earlier time, if space is available at L&D.
How is labor induced?
Induction is a process where various approaches (gels, pills, Foley catheters or IV Medications) are used in an attempt to get your body to go into labor. Some of these medications are administered in the vagina or taken by mouth, some are catheters that are placed in the closed cervix, and some are through the IV. Most of the time, it is a lengthy process (lasting 1-2 days) and are usually done as an inpatient process, although on occasion the first part of induction is done on an outpatient basis. This is to “ripen the cervix.”
Cervical ripening is the process of using the above medications or catheter to make the cervix soft, thinner, and/or open. Hopefully, when the cervix is “ripened,” the uterus is more receptive to induction.