I absolutely love helping moms feel educated, prepared and empowered during their birth experiences. This takes many shapes and forms, and isn’t only in regards to unmedicated, spontaneous birth! I have supported many moms through various types of inductions and wanted to pass along my tips and tricks!
In a continuation of the ” now what” series, I wanted to touch on what to expect when you are going into the hospital to be induced! Also, check out my “So you’re having a C-Section… now what?” blog as well!
There are a few reasons your healthcare provider may suggest you be induced. Some of these reasons include going past your due date (41-42 weeks), a suspected large baby from ultrasound measurements or from Gestational Diabetes, or other medical reasons (pre-eclampsia, infection, etc.)
Here are some research articles and information for the evidence behind inductions. Again, I’m all about education over here 😉
What to expect with a hospital induction
- Most often, you will arrive to the hospital at night, in hopes that you will be able to rest through the first phase of the induction. *This may not always be the case, so ask your provider what the plan is.*
- When you arrive they will have you put on a hospital gown (you may bring your own clothes, usually a nursing bra and comfy dress or tank and shorts works!), they will put an IV in and begin giving you fluids and put you on the monitors (one for contractions and one for baby’s heart beat).
- They will insert either Cytotec or Cervadil into your vagina every 2-4 hours depending on your reaction and the administration rate of the drug used. These drugs will dilate and thin out your cervix (the standard 1-10cm dilation and percentage of effacement 0-100%).
- **Sometimes, inductions are started with the breaking of your amniotic sac or “breaking your water.” This can stimulate hormones within your body that start labor, and usually is accompanied by walking the halls.**
- They will instruct you to eat ice chips or have water during this process, BUT I would HIGHLY SUGGEST bringing snacks you can easily eat (bites of protein bars, gatorade gummy electrolyte chews, etc.) and asking the nurses for food so you don’t get too tired. Sometimes these drugs gives you strong contractions that are close together, other times you can rest right through.
- Once you are 3-4cm dilated they often begin pitocin, if you are not already contracting in a steady pattern. Pitocin is administered via IV and is dosed depending on your reaction to it. If you arrive at the hospital 3-4cm already, they may begin with pitocin and the plan for the induction may change, as stated above.
- Depending on your birth plan and desires, you may be ready for pain relief when pitocin is administered as it usually gives strong contractions. There are different pain management options and I would suggest talking with your provider to learn more. One of the best methods for pain management is a doula! If you have hired a doula, it is time to call her when your contractions are strong enough that you are having to work through them with sound, breathing and movement.
- Throughout the rest of your induction process (epidural or not), you will be encouraged to move, or moved, so that your dilation and progress continues at a steady pace.
- If you get an epidural, you may begin feeling discomfort again when you are 10cm dilated, at this point if baby is low (+2 station or more), your nurse will likely begin pushing with you. If you are 10cm and -1, 0 or even +1 station, they may have you “labor down” where you sit straight up in bed and continue to contract without pushing for an hour or so. This can decrease your overall time pushing.
- If you are having an unmedicated birth, the above may still happen as the healthcare team waits for your body’s own responses to dilation and your baby’s descent. You often begin feeling the urge to push at +1/+2 station.
- The last thing to do is push, and have your baby!
Visuals to better understand-
THINGS TO BRING
-Bite size snacks for labor that you like
-Water bottle or electrolyte drinks (gatorade, coconut water, etc.)
-Your own pillow/ blanket and any coping mechanisms you’d like (music, essential oils, affirmations, etc.)
-Copy of your birth plan for when you check in
There are other options as well if you are needing or wanting to be induced that you and your healthcare provider can discuss. If you are wanting a less intervention heavy birth, feel free to contact me for more information about natural induction methods and alternatives to medical inductions. But, for those having hospital inductions, I hope you have a better understanding of what to expect as you enter the hospital to have your baby! Happy birthing!
Ashlyn is a Registered Nurse with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. She is a Birth Boot Camp Certified Doula and lives in Denton, TX with her husband, Jacob and her cat, Lucy.