What Medical Techniques Are Used To Induce Labor And What Risks Are Associated With Each One?
There are medical ways to induce labor as well as natural ways to induce labor. Medical techliques to induce labor is what doctors use to try to help labor along using medications or other medical techniques. It is not usually done unless there’s a true medical need for it.
When is it done?
Your doctor might suggest a medical induction in some cases:
- Not having conductions after your water broke
- More than 42 weeks into your pregnancy
- The baby is in risk
- In case of certain infections, such as chorioamnionitis
- When there is a certain problem with the placenta
- When you have certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes
- In case there is not enough amniotic fluid
In this article, I will be discussing the common medical techniques are used to induce labor.
Medical ways to induce labor
At times women may need medical ways to induce labor at the hospital. It is essential that the health and well-being of the mother and the baby are discussed with a doctor to ensure that it is a safe alternative.
Many of these medical methods lack strong indications for their safety or efficacy. Most of the medical resources used to generate work are aimed at the maturation of the cervix with prostaglandins (natural or artificial) or the induction of uterine contractions.
Each type of these medical methods is good for a different stage of the labor, meaning that in order to choose which one is better to use, the doctors will check the condition of your cervix at the time. If your cervix hasn’t started to soften (efface or dilate), it’s considered “unripe” and you’re not yet ready for labor. In this case, you will be started with an IV infusion of oxytocin, also known as Pitocin. Which is a type of synthetic hormone that the body produces naturally during regular labor.
In order to ripen your cervix and induce labor, your provider may use the next techniques.
Stripping the membranes
Membrane stripping is a procedure where a finger is inserted through the cervical opening and swept to the left and right in a clockwise motion to separate the lower part of the membranes from the uterine wall. When the membranes are stripped, the body releases hormones called prostaglandins, which help prepare the cervix for delivery.
Giving the hormone prostaglandin to help ripen the cervix
Prostaglandin is a gel or vaginal insert that is inserted into the vagina or a tablet is given by mouth.
Cervical ripening agents
In this type of induction, a gel (prepared) is placed in or around the cervix with a syringe, or a tampon-like insert (Cervidil) is placed in the vagina with a sustained release drug. This can be removed in case of hyperstimulation.
The risk associated with cervical ripening agents
If the discomfort and potential complications of medical devices to induce labor are still unclear, ask your healthcare provider for a copy of the consent form for the hospital for induction. In general, this looks like this: “the risk may include longer work, longer hospital stay and recovery period, greater risk of forceps and/or vacuum suction, more bleeding or infection and an increase in cesarean rates”.
This is commonly referred to as “breaking water”, but it is also known as “art membrane cracks” (AROM). It is also considered the most “natural” of all medical means to induce labor. An amniotomy hook, similar to a hook, is inserted to tear the bag of water and release the amniotic fluid. This method is usually chosen when the cervix is already dilating about four centimeters and disappears a little.
The risk associated with Amniotomy
Amniotomy can also result in a little in a little-considered side effect. The water bag not only protects the baby. But it also works as a pillow between the baby’s head and the cervix. To put things in perspective, imagine the water bag as a pillow and the head of the baby as a bowling ball.
During a Pitocin induction, the mother must stay in bed with continuous intravenous and fetal monitoring. Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin, the natural hormone that causes labor produced by the mother’s body. Pitocin is administered in intravenous doses (intravenous or catheter). Approximately every hour, the nurse or gynecologist checks the womb response to the current dose of Pitocin and adjusts it.
The risk associated with Pitocin induction
If the work does not run fast enough at the doctor’s convenience, the infusion is often increased. This leads to rapid and constant contractions that can usually cause hyperstimulation of the uterus and can lead to the cascade of interventions previously described.
The risk of induction of work
As with any procedure, triggering the work involves risks. These risks include:
- Strong, frequently contractions that can lead to fatal complications such as increased heart rate and umbilical cord complications
- Maternal or fetal infection
- Torn uterus
- Risk of needing a cesarean delivery
- Fetal death
The most common and disappointing complication of the medical induction is, however, outright failure. Inductions directly don’t always work. The medical induction can take a long time. If you haven’t gone into labor after two days of medical induction, your practitioner probably considers it a failed attempt, and you will have to cover it with a cesarean section. This process can be complicated psychologically for you and your partner. Moreover, having a Cesarean section after induction failure is associated with higher percentages of complications, especially infection and longer stay in the hospital.
The good news is that there is much more you can do than just hope for your labor to start and prepare for the worst. Find more information about natural ways to induce labor here.