We want to compliment all you ladies for doing such a great job taking care of yourselves and your soon-to-be-born babies. You are thirty-seven weeks along now, and your baby is considered full term; congratulations are certainly in order! Even though you are full term, you still have a few weeks until you reach your estimated due date. You can expect your baby to be born any time between now and a week to two weeks after your due date. You may be thinking about talking to your doctor about inducing labor, or if you have had any complications, your doctor may have discussed the possibility of induction with you. In this week’s newsletter, we are going to be talking about inductions.
What Is Going on with Mom & Baby
Baby is the size of a winter melon!
Baby: Baby’s crown to rump length is around 35 cm (13.8-14.2 inches). Your baby weighs about 3000-3100 grams (6.6-6.8 pounds). Your baby is still putting on weight. She is practicing breathing right now by inhaling amniotic fluid. If you are having a girl, she may have a pink or mucous vaginal discharge a few days after her birth.
Mom: You may be noticing more back pain or pelvic pressure. These are all signs that labor may be on its way. Your doctor has probably started checking your cervix for effacement and dilation. You may have started to thin out or dilate. This indicates that your body has started the labor process and that you may be having your baby soon. Don’t worry if you haven’t started to dilate yet, many women don’t begin to dilate until they actually start labor.
This Week’s Pregnancy Checklist
- Make sure you know where your insurance card is.
- Stock up on canned goods and easy-to-fix meals.Purchase any last-minute diapering supplies.
- Select a pediatrician for your baby, if you haven’t already.
- Review your insurance coverage for anesthesiology or circumcision.
- Take a new belly picture for your scrapbook or journal.
Reasons for Inducing Labor
When you think of labor induction, you may picture an impatient mom who just wants to get the show on the road and have her baby. This type of induction is called an elective induction. Although some inductions are done because of convenience reasons, the ACOG does not endorse inductions for convenience, but rather recommends that inductions only be done when it is safer for mom (or baby) to be induced than it is for her to continue being pregnant.
Reasons You Might Need to Have a Labor Induction.
- Maternal conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, renal disease, or serious infections)
- Fetal conditions (severe fetal growth restriction, abnormalities in baby’s heart rate)
- Low amniotic fluid
- Placental problems such as placental abruption
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Post-term baby
*Some other reasons for inductions include women that have a history of very fast labor or women carrying large babies.
Reasons Not to Induce Labor: (These Are a Few Circumstances Where Labor Induction Should Be Avoided)
- Placenta Previa or Vasa Previa
- Baby is breech or transverse presentation
- Previous c-section with a classic incision (vertical)
- Active case of maternal genital herpes
Frequently Asked Questions About Labor Induction
What Happens During an Induction?
Cervix ripening - If your cervix has not started to dilate or thin out on its own, you may be given a vaginal suppository to soften your cervix and start the dilation process. Another method of ripening the cervix involves inserting a catheter into your vagina. The catheter has a small balloon at the end of it and is positioned so that when it is inflated it puts pressure on the cervix to dilate it.
Pitocin - If you are admitted to the hospital to induce labor, you will most likely be given Pitocin. Pitocin is a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is normally produced by your body during labor and stimulates contractions.
Breaking your water - Once your cervix has started to dilate, your doctor or midwife may decide to break your bag of water to augment labor. Sometimes rupturing the membranes is all it takes to get your contractions going. (Once your water has been broken, you are committed to having your baby quite quickly. If labor doesn’t start on its own, a c-section will be necessary)
Membrane stripping - If your cervix has already started to ripen, your doctor or midwife may decide to strip your membranes to bring on labor. Membrane stripping is generally done in the office and is used more for less urgent situations.
Can I Ask to Be Induced?
Some doctors are more agreeable to elective inductions than others. If your cervix is favorable and your baby’s lungs are mature, your doctor might agree to an induction. The best way to find out is to ask. However, keep in mind that inducing labor has its risks, and unless there is a medical reason for an induction, it is generally better for baby and mom to wait for nature to take its course.
Does Inducing Labor Cause You to Have a More Painful Labor?
If you are given Pitocin during your labor induction, you may have more intense contractions. Pitocin is known to cause more painful and stronger contractions.
Can I Just Wait?
The best way to answer this question is to talk to your doctor. If you are overdue, he may say that waiting it out is okay; however, if your health or baby’s health is at risk, the safest choice may be induction. If you really don’t like the idea of a hospital induction, you can also talk to him about some natural things you can do at home to help bring on labor.