We are celebrating our Montreal prenatal class with the ABCs of prenatal classes. From A to Z let’s cover some common prenatal terms, I is for Induction, and what you will learn about them from our class.
Induction: the process of bringing about or giving rise to something. In the case of birth, induction is doing things in order to start labor so that baby will join us on the outside.
What are some induction methods?
There are two main categories of labor induction methods: “natural” and medical.
You may have heard of natural induction methods because a lot of people try to nudge things along at the end of pregnancy whether they need to or not. Some people try things like eating pineapple or spicy food, having sex, doing squats, or chugging red raspberry leaf tea. Before using any of these methods it’s important to consider whether they are safe for you and whether doing them is better than simply waiting.
Unfortunately there’s no solid evidence to back most of them up but if spicy eggplant parmesan brings you to your happy place, enjoy the delicious. In fact, here’s where to find a recipe that is both delicious and, supposedly, effective. If it doesn’t deliver the baby eviction notice you were hoping for, at least you’ll have a scrumptious meal. And here is where you can check out the evidence surrounding breast stimulation, eating dates, acupuncture and castor oil. In the absence of medical need, we love to focus on patience, relaxation and letting go, but we also understand that doing that can be infinitely harder than eating a whole pineapple.
Medical induction can take the form of a nudge like a membrane sweep to a bigger push using medications like cervical ripeners (to soften the cervix) and synthetic oxytocin. Often medical inductions use a combination of medications and methods to get labor going. For instance it is common for doctors to use a cervical ripener to soften the cervix and prepare the body for labor before using synthetic oxytocin and/or breaking your water to cause or intensify contractions.
Why might you be induced medically?
Your care provider might bring up induction if they think it is safer to induce than to have baby stay in. Common reasons for induction include health concerns in the pregnant person (such as pre-eclampsia), health concerns in the baby or going well passed your due date. Ideally the decision to induce starts with a conversation between you and your provider so that you are making an informed decision. Ask a lot of questions, figure out what your options are and express your concerns.
Inductions can be long and somewhat uneventful at first. it’s important to have an idea of what to expect before you go to the hospital. We always suggest bringing plenty of things to keep you entertained and comfortable, like movies to watch and your own pillow(s). Worst (and best) case scenario your movies go unwatched and you meet your baby sooner than anticipated.
What you will learn about induction in our prenatal class
Common methods of medical induction
What to ask if induction is brought up
Making the most of an induction
Interesting facts about induction
Doctors use cervical signs, such as ripeness and effacement, and baby’s position to determine which method of induction would work best. This is called a Bishop score and it may be the only time your cervix gets points for being dilated.
Breast stimulation may work as an induction method if your cervix is already ripe, although there may be some risks. Nipple stimulation is thought to work because it releases oxytocin which causes uterine contractions. This method even made it into popular culture on The Office when Pam was trying NOT to go into labor and Michael suggested doing the opposite of induction methods: “Nobody touch Pam’s nipples.”