Labor Induction FAQs
Why is labor induced?
is a medical indication that supports delivering a baby before labor
occurs naturally. This can include hypertension/pre-eclampsia, poor
fetal growth, and poorly controlled diabetes. When this happens,
labor is induced. Today, elective induction of labor is becoming
more popular. However, since fetal lung maturity is important, the
American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology recommends elective
induction not be performed before completion of 39 weeks of
gestation. I support this recommendation.
How is labor induced?
Labor is usually
induced with Pitocin, a form of oxytocin, the natural hormone that
causes uterine contractions. Pitocin is administered through an IV
while your contractions and the baby’s heartbeat are continuously
monitored to ensure the dose is not too high. Some patients may also
need to have a low dose of cytotec (misoprostol) the evening prior
to receiving Pitocin.
Is induced labor more painful than natural labor?
Active labor can be very painful, whether induced or natural. If the dose of Pitocin
is higher than necessary, the contractions may be more painful. This
is why it is imperative to carefully monitor your contractions and
the baby’s heartbeat during induction. The use of an epidural or
other pain medication may minimize any increase in pain from induced
Are there risks to labor induction?
The risks to both
mother and baby can be minimized by careful monitoring and quick
response from nurses and physicians. Since women who have previously
had a cesarean section are at greater risk during labor induction,
they must have a very detailed discussion with their physician prior
to the use of labor stimulants.