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I am pregnant and have been told my baby may need to be induced. What is induction and should I do it?
Induction of labour is a common practice. It is achieved by administration of medication to cause active labour.
An induction may be offered if a medical condition of the pregnant person — such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or if the gestational dates have passed 42 weeks — means it’ll be safer to have your baby sooner rather than wait on the natural process of going actively into labour.
There are medical concerns particularly to the foetus if not delivered beyond 42 weeks. If the water has broken and there is no progression or poor progression from latent labour into active labour, induction may also be offered.
The health professionals responsible will explain your options to you so you can make an informed decision.
Many doctors and midwives may also discuss doing a membrane or cervical sweep in an attempt to separate the membranes of the amniotic sac from the cervix. This may also result in progression of labour due to the prostaglandins that are released by this process.
If induction of labour is indicated, it will happen in the hospital maternity unit under observation. Contractions can be started by inserting tablets to soften the cervix and by using intravenous methods. Induction of labour may take a while, particularly if the cervix still needs to be softened. After induction, labour may not start and depending on your medical condition and the foetus’s wellbeing, another induction or a Caesarean section may be considered.
Among these induced births, when labour was started, many give birth without further intervention. Some have assisted births with instruments such as forceps, while others go on to have Caesarean section.
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