Let’s Talk About Sex

Sunday Times - - Pulse - DR TLALENG MOFOKENG Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health prac­tice, Disa Clinic, safer­sex.co.za

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.

Op­tions

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.

E-mail your ques­tions to [email protected]­day­times.co.za with SEX TALK as the sub­ject. Anonymity is as­sured.

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