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(Medically) What to Expect from an Induction:

Methods Involved:

  • membranes sweep (possibly before/during)
  • cervical soften (cytotec or other softener)
  • manual dilation aid (foley bulb)
  • iv drip (pitocin and other meds as needed)
  • ROM (rupture of membranes/breaking your water)

Addition Items Used:

  • Peanut Ball (helps with cervical dilation greatly)
  • Birthing ball (helps relax hips and get baby lower engaged in the pelvis)
  • Walking (also pelvic engagement and dilation aid)
  • Hot Shower (if allowed, pain relief non-medicated)
  • Laughing Gas/IV Pain Meds/Epidural (pain management)

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Day/Morning Before

  • Double-check your bags and baby bag
  • Bring a comfort blanket, maybe a pillow and snacks (you can always eat them after birth too)
  • You CAN eat before and DURING labor – the nothing to eat/drink rule is only in place in case the need for a c-section arises – but in that case, the staff is prepared for emergency situations and will handle it
  • Line up some entertainment, you may be some time (I have watched movies and listened to music during mine – anything that will relax you)
  • Don’t stress the trimming of the bits, but do try and poop if you can, it might help you feel better especially if they do a foley bulb


Induction Day/Night (depends on OB and Cervix)

Eat a light high protein meal the day of the induction, as vomiting is very common in the active phase of labor. Carbs are another option, so mash potatoes and pasta are a bland option. I have not personally vomited in labor, but the forced contractions of pit can cause your stomach to cramp and cause other reactions.

In most cases, the baby will be monitored either continuously (meaning you might be stuck in a bed) or they might do intermittent (you can ask at the start with the nurse) and medication will be administered to induce your labor (this will be done via IV and they probably will do a base blood panel set before placing the iv.

If your Group B strep culture was positive, antibiotics will be started right away.

Normally they start with cervical softeners, and/or manual dilation with a foley bulb. The foley bulb will be painful to insert and is best helped along by laying on your side with a peanut ball swapping sides as needed. Walking may help too, but the weight can cause cramps. It normally comes out when you’re 4-6 cm dilated, don’t be surprised if you have the urge to pee and it comes out in the toilet with your blood show (been there, done that.)

Once the foley is out, or the round of cervical softeners have gotten you to the dilation your OB likes; a nurse or your doctor may rupture membranes (not always), and start Pitocin via IV.

Let’s all start by saying, Pitocin sucks. There’s no way to sugar coat it- it sucks. I was able to handle it better the 2nd time around, however, I was also more rested and hadn’t been confined to a bed on just cervical softeners for a couple of hours. Foley bulb really made the difference for my second induction.

Pitocin is usually the last resort, they will try to give you other meds to help thin your cervix and bring about contractions to encourage your body to start the process on its own. Pitocin doesn’t really care about any of that. Pitocin forces strong contractions and for me, sped up the process tremendously (the back pain was horrible and I did get an epidural both times – no shame)!

Not that each induction progressed differently and that no matter the number of kids you have/haven’t delivered, they can take a really long time. Especially depending on whether your body is already showing signs of being ready. If it’s not, expect that it will likely take a while. Just know you will leave with a baby, one way or another.

You will be more uncomfortable than you’ve likely been at any other point in your pregnancy, trust me. They will need you to lie in odd positions to try to get the baby on the monitor and you’ll need to stay in that position for at least an hour straight while they monitor the baby after administering induction meds. (So not fun on a self-inflating bed – I bring my own pillows and blanket to be comfortable.)

You’ll be constantly poked and prodded as they collect vitals and draw blood for labs (if/when needed) – especially with the new mask rule for most places. You’ll also have an IV started so they can administer meds if needed and it will be one more thing that will be uncomfortable. Always ask if you can get up and move around or be on a birthing ball to get out of bed and open your pelvis more, which may speed up things.

You won’t have much privacy from this point until after you’re discharged from the hospital with your baby. Between physical exams and trying to get up to move in a gown that doesn’t fit right (unless you brought your own) and is covered with the different straps for monitoring, it’s hard to really cover up when you get up – eventually, I end up in just a sheet when I delivered my son – not even caring. Expect that at one point or another, everyone will likely see everything you’ve got and it won’t phase you. And take comfort in knowing that they could care less about what they see – all a part of the job.

Please remember to be open-minded about what you want for your birth plan and what you can be flexible about – always ask if something is MEDICALLY NECESSARY right then, as an intervention o change in plan. Informed consent is a huge thing so they have to tell you what is going to happen, what the risks and benefits are and you have the option in 90% of the cases to ask for time or turn it down.

I was adamant that I did not want pain meds with my first, but after being given the option of epidural to relax or an emergency c-section – I caved and did the epidural. It allowed me to sleep and rest, going thru transition much easier than I thought I would and woke up needing to push. Not always the case, but sometimes changes can help.

Know that nothing (unless it is life-threatening) will be forced on you, and you can always have time to think or have your support partner/spouse there to be a sounding board. Having them know what you do/don’t want, and what you might be willing to consider is good, because in the moment you might be overwhelmed or exhausted.

Be your own advocate and speak up for what you want and need. Make sure your voice is heard – or have your partner be that person for you when you need it.

I felt both times the urge to push and made sure my husband hunted down a nurse to drag back so they took me seriously. They didn’t want to think I was right, but 15-20 minutes later in both cases, I pushed out a baby. Your body will tell you things, that their monitors won’t Trust it.

Some moms are concerned about pooping in labor – don’t be! It will either happen or not. The way I communicated to the nurses I was ready to push was actually that overwhelming urge to have a bowel movement, which in most cases is the sign it was time.

I pushed before the monitors said there was a contraction, and I went with what I felt, and it was the best for me.

Please know that being induced isn’t an easy process, and totally not a cop-out for a naturally timed birth. It is physically exhausting and you push yourself harder than you think you can.

Know your limits, communicate them with your partner, and have a birthing plan on hand so you have a list to go off of.


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