Labor Induction and Augmentation – Everything You Need To Know


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Are you super excited or nervous that your baby would be arriving shortly? Are the horror stories of labor scaring the daylights out of you? It is normal to be a nervous wreck about your delivery if you are clueless about labor.

If you are nervous about the whole process, then it is time to let go of your worries! Read on to know more facts about induction and augmentation of labor. This will definitely calm your mind and prepare you for the final day.

What Is Labor?

When your body is preparing for a natural process of delivery, it starts sending signals that it is time for the birth. This is known as labor. In most cases, active labor will start on its own. Your cervix may be dilating by the time you reach your doctor, after feeling frequent contractions at regular intervals.

In pregnancies where the labor may not start on its own, it is then that your doctor will have to decide on induction or augmentation of labor.

What Is Induction Of Labor?

As you reach the end of your term, your cervix becomes soft and thin. The cervix is ready to open up (dilate) for the labor pains and birth. In the absence of natural labor at the time of delivery, your doctor may decide to start artificially induced labor or IOL (Induction of Labor.)

[ Read: How To Induce Labour ]

Why Is Labor Induced?

Your doctor may induce labor due to any of the following reasons:

  • It is a week past your due delivery date, and you are still not experiencing any labor pains.
  • Your baby is in urgent need of medical assistance, and the chance of vaginal delivery is remote.
  • Your water has broken, and you are still not experiencing contractions or labor pains.
  • The doctor may induce labor after your pregnancy has crossed the 39 weeks mark if she feels you may not be able to reach the hospital in time.

Prenatal health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, preeclampsia, any infection or lung disease may adversely affect the health of both mother and child during vaginal delivery or if the pregnancy continues for long. The doctor may induce labor to avoid further health complications.

[ Read: Exercise To Induce Labor ]

How Is Labor Induced?

Here are the most common ways to induce labor:

  • Medication to soften your cervix and help it thin out
  • Medication to make your uterus contract
  • Use of a balloon catheter to help open the cervix
  • Rupture the amniotic sac to start or increase contractions in cases where the cervix is already soft and slightly open

What Is Augmentation Of Labor?

Your contractions may not be frequent enough or forceful enough to aid childbirth. If your body slows down mid labor, then your doctor may decide to augment labor, which is a method of helping your labor progress smoothly through delivery.

[ Read: Eating Pineapple To Induce Labor ]

Why Is Labor Augmented?

Even if you are in active labor, it may be further augmented due to any of the following reasons:

  • Your amniotic sac has not yet ruptured
  • Your contractions are not frequent and strong or may have stopped
  • Your amniotic sac has ruptured on its own, yet your labor is not progressing

How Is Labor Augmented?

Your doctor can augment labor in a number of ways. Here are the most common methods used to do it:

  • By rupturing your membranes, if your amniotic sac is still intact
  • By administering Picotin through an IV. Picotin is a synthetic form of the oxytocin hormone.
  • By stimulating your nipples

[ Read: Squats To Induce Labor ]

Usually, the use of one or more of these methods to induce or augment labor ensures a smooth vaginal delivery. However, if nothing works, your doctor may decide to go for a C-section.

It is a good idea to share your concerns about labor with your doctor. Ask your doctor about any queries you have pertaining to augmentation and induction of labor, or before you are in labor. A chat with your doctor will prepare you mentally for your delivery.

If you have undergone induced or augmented labor, please share your experience with us.

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