Today, let’s talk about induction: what is it and under what circumstances is it used?
Induction involves utilizing external methods to kickstart labor (as opposed to your body starting the process on its own). Most types of induction are performed by a medical professional, though there are some techniques you can try at home to get labor started (but PLEASE do not try any home induction techniques without first consulting your doctor!). One of the most common types of induction is an IV drip containing Pitocin, which is a synthetic version of the oxytocin hormone your body normally produces to cause contractions.
Why is induction performed? After all, the baby will come out at some point on its own, right? Well, not necessarily. Many, many babies become quite comfortable in utero and have no desire to come out and explore the big, wide world. For healthy, normally progressing pregnancies, your doctor will likely recommend induction if your baby is a week or two past his or her due date. Induction will also be recommended if your water breaks but labor doesn’t start soon after, as this can increase the risk of infection. In addition, an induction may also be performed if the health of the mother or baby is at risk, and the pregnancy is far enough along.
Women also can request inductions for non-medical reasons, too. For example, a mother may want her baby’s birthday to happen (or not) on a particular day, or during a particular month. It is up to your medical provider whether or not to grant this type of request.
In summary, inductions are normal, frequently-utilized medical methods used for the benefit of both mother and baby. If you have questions about induction, we recommend that you ask your healthcare provider on your next visit. He or she will be able to tell you under what circumstances their office recommends induction, as well as the types they offer. You can also visit this website for more information: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/labor-induction.