I know that an induction may not be the first choice of many expecting moms. The idea of inducting labor can bring up many questions and worry. I want to tell you that induction, in and of itself, is not a “bad” thing. It is still possible to give birth without pain medication if you are induced (if that is what you want)! In this blog I want to help you in the process of preparing for an induction.
I will provide you with a list of questions you may want to ask your provider prior to scheduling this procedure and the thought process behind each. At the end, there is a printable to help guide your conversation with your provider. I strongly recommend setting up a separate appointment to discuss the induction and having that discussion take place across a desk rather than in the exam room. This levels the field a little and puts you in a less vulnerable position.
Preparing for an Induction
Why are you suggesting induction?
You deserve to know the reason(s) for why your doctor is suggesting an induction of labor – and they should be medical. In the back of your mind consider any upcoming holidays that your provider may want your baby born before (it sounds bizarre, but my doulas and I have definitely noticed an increase in the suggestion of induction surrounding certain dates).
What is my Bishop Score?
This is a measurement of how likely it is that your induction will lead to a vaginal delivery. It looks at different measurements related to the cervix and assigns a score to each. I have more information about Bishop Scores in this blog. Keep in mind that about 25% of inductions lead to c sections, usually because the body was not ready to deliver.
What is the plan for how my induction will proceed? What instruments and medications are you planning on using?
One thing that increases feelings of nervousness is the unknown. It can be very worrisome to not know what the plan is for your induction when you are preparing for your induction. If you know, for example, that your provider is planning on starting with a Foley Bulb and then giving you some time for your body to begin contracting on its own, possibly followed by pitocin, you know what to expect. Less scary, no?
What are all the risks associated with each of the methods you are planning on using? Can I please have a copy of the package insert for the medications?
Doctors prescribe a multitude of medications and it can be hard to keep track of all the risks associated with each of them. By asking about the medications your doctor plans on using for your induction you can do research on your own. It is possible for your doctor to not have the package insert available for induction medications. However, this information is readily available online if you know the name of the drug and the manufacturer. If you need help finding information on any of the medications, please reach out; I would be happy to help you locate it.
What can I do between now and my induction date to try to go into labor?
Your doctor knows your medical history, so they know what natural methods of induction would be safe for you and your baby. Some things you can ask about include:
- bouncing on a birth ball
- curb walking
- eating certain foods (such as dates, red raspberry leaf tea, etc)
- nipple stimulation
What are my options if the induction isn’t “working”?
Can you go home for a few hours to a few days? Will your doctor suggest using pitocin? At what point will these decisions be made and what factors will help your doctor make that decision?
What are the other options that I have?
There is almost always an alternative. If there is no safe alternative, chances are you would be needing to head to the hospital now to be induced or would need an emergent cesarean. You can ask your provider about waiting a few days to weeks and conducting nonstress tests. Here is some information on Nonstress Tests (NST) from Mayo Clinic.
If your provider uses the “dead baby” card that is a red flag. Should an induction is so emergent that delaying it will result in the death of your baby, your baby would need to be delivered immediately.
Ultimately it is YOU who makes the decision if labor will be induced. You need to be comfortable and confident with the plan your provider is proposing. A doula can help you prepare for an induction, as well as provide physical, emotional, and informational support throughout the process. Interested in learning more about labor support with my team? Click here.
As promised, here is the printable for you to bring with you to your appointment so you are informed: Preparing for an Induction
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This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace consultation with your healthcare professional. This blog cannot diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.