Induction of labour is certainly a hot topic especially considering that almost a third of all women are induced. We will be discussing the high rate of inductions in another article shortly.
So what is induction?
Induction is when your care provider starts your labour artificially. There are also ‘natural induction’ methods that many people try at home but today we are focusing on artificial induction.
Why do women need to be induced?
But sometimes health concerns come up and it becomes safer for baby to be born. We often get a lot of questions from mums who need to be induced and can they still have a HypnoBirth. The answer is yes, it’s very possible but we need to stay informed and empowered along the way.
When induction is being discussed, it’s very important to have a full and open conversation with your care provider about your options. Inductions should be a last resort purely because they can change the course of labour, making surges (contractions) longer, stronger and more painful, and an instrumental delivery or a c-section is more likely. It is important to keep in mind, that everything you put into your body crosses the placenta to your baby.
We always recommend using your ‘BRAINS’ when discussing choices with your care provider.
B – what are the Benefits of this for mum and/or baby
R – what are the Risks of this for mum and/or baby
A – what are our Alternatives
I – what does our intuition tell us
N – what if we did Nothing
S – please give us some Space to discuss our options
We always like to throw in a bit of E for Evidence too. It can certainly be worthwhile to ask for some reading to do about the condition you’re faced with. Many hospital procedures have come from a place of routine rather than research so looking at the actual numbers behind the likelihood of things occurring can often be very enlightening.
What happens with an induction?
There are three steps to an induction. Some women only need the first, some need all three and some may start at step 2 or 3 depending on if their body has already prepared somewhat.
Your Bishop Score Rating is a system that looks at what is happening with your cervix along with the position of baby and will most likely determine how the induction proceeds. This is determined via a cervical examination.
Step 1 – Cervix
The cervix needs to be ready for labour to proceed. This means softening, opening and thinning. There are chemicals that can be administered to the cervix to get this to happen, or there can be a balloon catheter inserted that manually gets the cervix to stretch open. This is often done at night while the women sleeps in hospital.
Some women may already be opening and thinning which means they can skip this step.
Step 2 – Membranes
The next step in the induction process is to release the fore waters around the babies head. The idea here is that once that bubble of fluid around babies head is released, the pressure of the head on mum’s cervix will cause opening. This of course means that the protective seal around the baby is broken and care providers may encourage antibiotics, which is something you can accept, or decline, depending on how you feel around the infection statistics.
For some women, membranes have already released and they would go straight to step 3.
Step 3 – Artificial Hormones
The last step is to administer artificial hormones via an IV drip, which cause the uterus to surge. Unfortunately Syntocinon does not cross the blood/brain barrier so our brain doesn’t get the message to release Endorphins, our natural pain killers. This can mean surges feel more intense.
Ok, so you’ve done your due diligence and an induction is the safest option, now what?!
We understand that this may be hard to process. If you’ve prepared with HypnoBirthing, we’re sure you had dreams of a certain type of birth. This is now the time to embrace the affirmation ‘I accept any turn my birth takes’. You can still have a great birth – you got this mama!
You have the opportunity to make your birth space really beautiful. Set up your room with purpose and with the deep knowing that you will be welcoming your baby soon. Tea light candles, fairy lights, birth affirmations, music and an oil diffuser all make the space relaxing and comforting.
You may also like to bring pillows and blankets from home.
Your Birth Partner
Debrief with them about where you’re at. If you need to, tell them that you’re scared, angry or upset. Lay it all out on the table. Tell them what you need from them. Encouragement, solidarity or maybe just a hug and a tissue.
A note for partners:
Induction does mean that the natural cocktail of birth hormones is disrupted. You will need to do all you can to get oxytocin (love hormone) and endorphins (pain killers) released for mum. How can you do this? Basically anything loving, supportive or caring.
- Whisper encouragement – tell mama you love her, you’re proud of her and all those lovely things
- Physical touch – Anything hands on helps endorphins release – light touch massage, stroking hair or neck, massage or acupressure, hip squeezes, counter pressure, hugs and kisses – it’s all good!
- Make mum as comfortable as possible – pillows, blankets, towels and face washers are all useful
- Keep mum hydrated – offer water and small, easy things to eat
- And most importantly, all the amazing HypnoBirthing techniques you learnt! These are your best bet in terms of keeping this birth flowing well.
Ok mama, this is the big one. Let’s get your head in the game. You’ve done the investigating and exploring, you’ve had all your questions answered, you may be disappointed but you’ve made the tough decision. Let’s birth this baby.
It’s going to be really important to stay focused on your HypnoBirthing techniques; they are what will help facilitate the release of your own hormones.
Stay positive, remind yourself you are safe and get excited about meeting your baby.
Those affirmations are there to support you, to keep you on track. Keep the lines of communication open with your partner, make sure you let them know if mentally you need some support.
Some other things to note
A few last things in regards to induction. We are sharing these so you have the heads up. Of course as with anything you can decline these things, but you may have to be prepared to sign a waiver.
- With induction, you generally need continuous monitoring either via a CTG machine or internal monitoring via scalp clips on baby. Ask the question beforehand if you can still utilise the bath and shower with the suggested monitoring.
- Often a physiological third stage is discouraged with induction. This may mean a change to your birth plan.
- Once an induction has started, the last stop is baby, generally there is no stopping the process if it’s not working.
We hope this article has shed some light on inductions and how to make HypnoBirthing work if this does happen to you.
We always encourage you to talk to you HypnoBirthing Practitioner and your care provider with any questions you may have.