The Risks and Benefits of Labor Inductions

Be Prepared

Understanding the differences between an induced labor and a spontaneous one can help you know what to expect. "When you agree to an induction," says Peg Plumbo, a certified nurse-midwife and an instructor in the nurse-midwifery program at the University of Minnesota, "you're also agreeing to a loss of control over many aspects of the birth. You'll spend the entire labor with an IV running, attached to a fetal monitor."

Ask in advance about the guidelines for eating and drinking and the use of IVs, monitors, and the tub (for water therapy). Talking to someone else who has been induced can also give you a realistic picture.

Most moms agree that an induced labor is more painful and intense. "It was by far the most difficult of my three labors because of the strong contractions brought on by the Pitocin and because my uterus was not at all ready for birth," says Stephanie Nash of Franklin, Virginia.

Make sure to ask in advance about what pain management options are available to you, when they can be administered, and about any side effects. And keep in mind that inductions don't always work. If, despite all interventions, your labor is not progressing, you may be sent home to try again another day. However, if the induction was medically necessary and/or your water has already broken, you will likely have a time limit on your labor (usually 24 hours).

If you have not delivered within that time, you will probably require a c-section. But induction or not, keep the end result in mind -- a beautiful baby.

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