If you have read my birth story then you know I had a semi-complicated pregnancy that resulted in having a labor induction. One of my biggest problems with my induction is that I felt extremely unprepared for everything it entailed. I’d like to share some of my experiences so that you can go into your induction better prepared then I was.
What is a Labor Induction?
A labor induction is when a medical professional uses medical interventions to start labor. Inducing labor can be done through medications, sweeping of the membranes or breaking of the waters.
Why might a labor induction be recommended to you?
Inducing labor might be recommended for complications such as
- a pregnancy that has gone beyond 42 weeks.
- preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, hypertension or a variety of other pregnancy complications
- a ruptured amniotic sac but labor hasn’t started within 24-48 hours
- if the baby is in danger of not getting enough nutrients from the placenta
What are some labor induction methods?
Prostaglandin–brand names such as Cervidil: Cervidil is inserted into the cervix through the vagina and is intended to ripen and dilate the cervix so that contractions start “naturally”. I was told by numerous professionals that it is similar to having a tampon inserted. Read below for my opinion on that one!
Oxytocin– brand names such as Pitocin and Syntocinon: These medications are given intravenously and are meant to stimulate contractions. Pitocin is a synthetic version of the natural hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone that is released in your body which triggers contractions. Pitocin is often used in conjunction with Cervidil to speed up contractions and make them more intense so that labor can progress more quickly.
What no one told me:
Having your membranes swept hurts pretty bad!
When it was decided that I needed to be induced my midwives first attempted to do this semi-naturally by sweeping my membranes. Now my mom told me this wouldn’t hurt. Well, she either blatantly lied to me or just didn’t remember her experience from when she had her kids. I will choose to believe the latter.
Although later I spoke with other moms and most seemed to agree that having your membranes swept is extremely uncomfortable, if not downright painful!
Having Cervidil inserted hurts REALLY BAD!
Remember earlier when I said I was told repeatedly that having Cervidil inserted was similar to having a tampon inserted? Well, I guess that would be true if you regularly use a tampon that is made of RAZOR BLADES! While I realize it is not actually made of razor blades it does feel extremely sharp as they are inserting it. Like extremely sharp and extremely painful. Plus it takes a few minutes (or maybe it is only seconds) as they wiggle it around in your vagina and cervix trying to get it placed correctly. It was so painful! And just so you know I am pretty tough when it comes to pain (I’ve been getting debilitating migraines since I was 5 years old) Luckily I couldn’t feel it after it was inserted, and I didn’t feel it as much when they removed it.
You won’t be able to sleep the night of your induction!
Usually, when you are scheduled for an induction the hospital will have you come in during the evening to have Cervidil or a similar drug inserted into your cervix. They have you come at night so that you can go to sleep and get a good night’s rest while the Cervidil does its thing.
Well, I don’t know about you but the knowledge that you are going to be meeting your baby the next day (or so you think) made it extremely difficult for me to sleep. Well that and the fact that nurses are going to be checking on you every 2 hours, AND labor and delivery beds are extremely uncomfortable, AND the fact that you are 9 months pregnant makes sleeping really hard!
Basically, expect to get no sleep.
Induced labors can last a really, really long time!
I had really high hopes that my labor would be under 24 hours. Mine lasted 36! Since a labor nduction is technically an artificial process to get labor going it can take longer.
My biggest take away from having a Labor Induction.
My take away from the induction process is this: I never want to have another induction. With my next pregnancy, I am going to make sure I am using some natural methods to gently ripen my cervix starting at 36 weeks.
Update! Now that I am pregnant with my second child I will definitely be following ALL the tips for going into labor naturally! Read: How to go into Labor Naturally Tonight!