Induction of labour is when a woman’s labour is medically commenced and is usually recommended when the benefits of baby being delivered outweigh the benefits of baby staying in.
What is induced labour?
Most spontaneous labours occur at any time between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. The cervix relaxes and starts to open, membranes may rupture and the contractions result in the baby being moved through the birth canal and being born. In induced labour, or labour induction, these processes are started artificially. The process may include cervical ripening (if the cervix is closed) but essentially begins with rupture of the membranes (breaking the waters) and using medicine to start the contractions. Induction of labour or IOL is commonly performed in Australia, with up to one in three pregnancies being induced.
What makes induced labour different than natural labour?
Induced labour can be more uncomfortable than natural labour. In natural labour, the contractions develop slowly, but in induced labour they can start more promptly and be more powerful. Because this labour is more intense, women undergoing and induction are more likely to request an epidural for pain relief. If an epidural is used, there is a slightly higher chance of requiring some assistance to deliver baby at the end.
With an induction of labour, the baby is also monitored continuously via CTG to assess any change in his/her condition.
When to induce labour?
Common indications for induction of labour:
- pregnancy is past its due date
- Concern about baby’s wellbeing
- multiple or twin births
- waters have broken, but the contractions haven’t started yet
- mother’s health conditions that prohibit prolonged labour like kidney problems, heart diseases & high blood pressure.
Some of the risk factors associated with induction of labour are:
- increased bleeding during or after delivery of the baby
- increased likelihood of requesting epidural pain relief
Importantly, induction of labour does not increase the likelihood of caesarean section and even reduces the likelihood if performed around 39 weeks of gestation.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 3188 5000.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional