Induction tips are essential because they encourage you to focus on and think about what could make a difference to you. Induction needs to be prepared for in a slightly different way to a spontaneous labour, as there a few different things to consider and your options may change.
Induction can be needed for a number of reasons: for conditions such as gestational diabetes or obstetric cholestasis or because a baby becomes ‘overdue’. Induction currently sits at about 32% so its a common intervention which can be controversial and which women do choose to decline depending on why it is suggested.
I work with a lot of new mums so conversation about birth is frequent – induction can work well for some women, their body just needs a little encouragement to get going but, for others, it is a slog, trying to convince their body to do something it just isn’t quite ready for.
Using these induction tips…
The reality is that induction can be a tough process but knowing what to expect and how to work with it could make a difference. Induction needs to be considered differently to a spontaneous labour, as there a different things to consider.
- RELAX & BREATHE: Just as with any labour, you need to be able to relax your body and use your breathing – this encourages hormone release and effective contractions. Being induced can also be a tense time from the run up to your induction date to being in the induction room, possibly with other women, waiting and finding out what you need to do.
- IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE COMFORTABLE: You don’t need to be stuck on a bed where you can’t move, where you are unable to respond to your body and provide your baby with the room he needs. Wander, stand, lean, sit, use a ball, use water if that is an option. While you are waiting for labour to start, keep moving and pottering as you need to so you are as comfortable and as relaxed as possible.
- FOR PRIVACY: If you are being induced in a shared room, use the curtain for privacy and you can use headphones to shut out any noise so you can relax.
And leave the room to go for a walk and get a change of scenery, if you are waiting for labour to start. With Covid restrictions, this might not be possible so you may have to make the most of the space you are in, which could be tougher if you are in a shared space. Focus on being relaxed and distracted by watching or reading something as you wait for your contractions to start.
- BRING IN FAMILIAR ITEMS: Maybe a blanket, a comfy pillow, a birth ball, a relaxing scent, music, photos.
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND EAT: It’s important to keep yourself hydrated and to give you energy for you labour. Going without food and water can make you tired. If there is any resistance to food water, ask for specific information about your options and why it isn’t possible.
- MOVE: Use gravity and different positions to stay comfortable. to work with your contractions and to give your baby the room he needs to get into a better position for labour and birth.
- SAY WHAT YOU NEED: Only you know how you are feeling and what feels right for you. Ask questions if you need to know what happens next, if you need to know what your options are.
Talk to your midwife about your pain relief options – from using gas & air effectively to having an epidural if your labour is long or to help you manage your contractions. If your labour gets going with the pessary, it may be possible to use the birthing pool or a bath – ask the question.
If your induction isn’t working, you can have a conversation about what can happen next, which may include opting for a caesarean.
- BE WELL PREPARED: read well with my antenatal course, you can book a 1:1 consultation (which included the digital course) so you have more knowledge about what to expect, about your options, and about what may help and what may not.
- YOU DON’T WAIT FOR PERMISSION: Move, wander, breathe as it feels right for you and talk to your midwife so she can support and guide you if necessary.
- BE GUIDED BY YOUR BODY: For movement, comfortable positions, rest, pushing, what feels right and what feels safe.
- TRY NOT TO FEAR YOUR CONTRACTIONS: You need them, so don’t battle with them. Try to accept them and work with them in the best way for you – breathing, movement, water, pain relief – but let them have what they need to work: relaxation not tension & gravity not being recumbent.
- ONCE YOU ARE IN LABOUR: You will be moved to your own room on the labour ward – use the room to be comfortable: move about, use a ball, a chair, the loo, the shower/bath; say what you need so you can work with your contractions; be warm enough; turn down the lighting; use your breathing and stay as relaxed as possible.
If you need to be induced, it can be useful to write down these induction tips so you can focus on what could make a difference for your labour.
And please do get in touch with any queries or to book a session to help you prepare for your induction.
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