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 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.
The reality is that induction can be tough but knowing what to expect and how to work with it could make a difference…
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.
YOU NEED 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.
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.
BRING IN FAMILIAR ITEMS: a blanket, pillow, a ball, a scent, music, photos,
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND EAT: keep yourself hydrated and to give you energy
MOVE: use gravity and different positions to stay comfortable and to work with your contractions
SAY WHAT YOU NEED: only you know how you are feeling and what feels right for you
BE WELL PREPARED: read well, book a 1:1 session with me so you have more knowledge about what to expect, about your options, and about what may help and what may not.
DON’T WAIT FOR PERMISSION: do what feels right and talk to your midwife so she can support and guide you
BE GUIDED BY YOUR BODY: for movement, comfortable positions, rest, pushing, what feels right and what feels safe
DON’T 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; be warm enough; turn down the lighting; use your breathing and stay as relaxed as possible.
ASK QUESTIONS: so you know more about your options and so you know more about what to expect next. If your induction isn’t working, you can have a conversation about what next, which may include opting for a caesarean. Talk to your midwife about pain relief as you need it.
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