Labor is an intricate set of processes that are designed to end with the birth. At times, the body is not ready to give birth when 40 weeks of gestation are complete. After 40 weeks, the viability of the placenta begins to fade and the baby may not receive the nutrients and oxygen needed to sustain healthy growth. If the time has come to give birth and the natural labor process has not begun, doctors can choose to induce labor in a variety of ways.
What is hormone-based labor induction?
The most common form of labor induction involves hormones applied to the cervix or given intravenously. Typically, hormone creams are used as the first attempt at labor induction. These creams are applied to the cervix in an attempt to ripen the cervix and start labor. Hormone creams can take a week to effectively ripen the cervix.
What is intravenous hormone therapy?
If cervical ripening did not help the progression to labor, intravenous hormones like Oxytocin can be used. The body produces Oxytocin naturally, but doctors can push more of the hormone into the body to mimic labor. Pitocin is another medication commonly used to induce labor.
When should the water be broken?
The bag of water, or amniotic sac, that surrounds the baby in the uterus, is a protective barrier between life inside the womb and life on the outside. If the bag of water is broken, labor typically begins and progresses quickly. After the amniotic sac is broken, the baby is no longer protected and the risk of infection increases.
What if labor induction does not work?
If all methods of labor induction have failed, the baby will be born via C-section. This does not make mom less of a mother and protects the baby from infection and fetal distress that can occur during prolonged labor.