Are you having an induction of labour? Read on to get some amazing tips for your induction! As a labour and delivery nurse, I’ve seen tons of inductions of labour in my time. Although it’s not ideal to have an induction, it is sometimes necessary.
These 5 induction tips are GOLD for you if you need to have one! Keep reading to find out how to survive an induction of labour. Learn about how long the process will take, why we need to soften your cervix first, what to say to family members and how to survive an oxytocin induction.
Read a step-by-step guide to induction right here on Babytalk: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Inductions
Induction Tip #1: Is This Going to Take Forever?
Your induction is likely going to take a very long time, it can potentially take days! Which is normal.
If you are being induced you are probably not in labour. Once you are in active labour, things will go at a normal speed, but the unknown window of time is how long it will actually take to get you into active labour.
The first step of induction is getting your cervix “favourable”. Which means it needs to be softer, lower and in an optimal position.
During your pregnancy, your cervix is at the back of your uterus and it is long, closed and hard. Think of it as a long hard tube, it’s typically about 4 centimetres long. It has to be that way to hold your baby inside until they are mature enough to be born!
Once you are in labour, your cervix should be more to the front (anterior for the medical nerds out there) and it will be softer and shorter.
This part of the process takes lots and lots of time, so be patient!
Induction Tip #2: Cervical Changes before Labour
Don’t focus so much on how dilated you are in the beginning. Like we learned in tip #1, your cervix needs to soften, shorten and come down and to the front before you get into active labour.
When you get checked, find out how much has changed in that regard, and don’t focus on your dilation.
Dilation seems to be on everyone’s minds, but it’s most definitely not the most important part of birthing your baby. To be able to dilate, your cervix has to do lots of other things first!
So ask your provider after a vaginal exam:
- How thinned out is my cervix or how long is my cervix?
- What position is the baby’s head at (-3,-2,-1 etc.)?
- Is my cervix to the back, middle or front?
- Is it soft, medium or hard?
All these things are KEY for getting your body into labour, it’s not all about the dilation! And actually, your provider should be using this to calculate something called a Bishop’s score which basically tells them how likely it is for the induction to work.
You want your:
- Cervix to get shorter throughout the process.
- Baby’s head to come down lower, from -3 to -1 for example.
- Cervix to come to the front.
- Cervix to get softer!
Read this story from Athena about her induction of labour and my insight into her birth! Athena’s Birth Story, A Scheduled Induction
Induction Tip #3: Tell Your Friends and Family This Little White Lie.
This tip is about family involvement! Everyone is different, so this might not apply to you.
But if your family is getting too nosy and is calling or texting you every minute of the day to see if you’ve had your baby, maybe tell them a little white lie.
If you’re having an induction, why don’t you tell them your induction date is a little later than it actually is? That way, they will leave you be until you’ve already had your baby.
Again, you might want your family involved, and that’s great! But some people just want peace and quiet and they want to go through the birthing process without having to update everyone each step of the way. I don’t think this little white lie will hurt anyone if that’s what you want.
Induction Tip #4: Oxytocin is a b!@#$
Oxytocin is usually the next step once your cervix is softened. Oxytocin is a drug administered through your IV to make you contract regularly more strongly to help to dilate your cervix so that your baby can come out!
Induction with oxytocin usually hurts more than natural labour. That’s just a fact!
Natural labour eases you into the pain. You’ll start out with short contractions that are further apart. Some contractions will hurt less and others will hurt more.
Truth time… with oxytocin, most often all the contractions are all the same, and they all hurt a lot.
Yes, we start by giving you a low dose of medication and increase it until we get to an optimal dose. But the contractions are more uniform and regular with oxytocin than they are with natural labour.
Tips to cope with this intense oxytocin pain:
- Ask for portable monitors so that you can move around more in labour. Movement can really help with the pain.
- Use a birthing ball instead of sitting on the bed. Even though you are hooked up to monitors, you can still sit in various places and don’t need to be stuck to the bed.
- Some portable monitors can be used in the shower or bath, and hydrotherapy is great for the pain! Find out what is available at your hospital.
- Rest as much as you can between these intense contractions. The more you rest, the easier it is to cope with the next contraction.
- If you do need an epidural, don’t beat yourself up! The good thing about oxytocin is that we are keeping your labour going with the drip, so the epidural won’t slow your labour down at all.
More from Babytalk about coping with contraction pain: The Best Way to Cope With Contractions During Labour
Induction Tip #5: Taking a Break and Move Around
With oxytocin on board, you are going to have to be hooked up to the monitor so we can watch your baby’s heartbeat and your contractions.
That being said, a lot of places have a policy in place for you to have a break from the monitor if needed.
If you are on a steady dose of oxytocin (we are not increasing the amount) and your baby’s heart rate is normal you should be able to take a break from the monitor for up to 30 minutes.
Find out from your facility whether this is an option!
If you can take short breaks off the monitor, you could go walk the halls, take a shower or anything else that might help you with the pain.
And that’s it! My 5 helpful induction tips to get you through your labour induction. I hope you found them helpful and I wish you all the best for a great induction of labour. Comment below if you have any questions or stories you’d like to add. I love hearing from my readers!