What if I have to be induced?

Whilst you’ll most likely begin labour naturally between 37 and 41 weeks, it’s worth finding out about inducing childbirth just in case your baby is overdue. If you know all the options, you’ll feel more relaxed about what’s going on when the time comes. Don’t worry, it’s relatively painless and once done, labour will usually progress quickly. This section will tell you more about inducing labour, but if you still have any questions speak to your midwife or give our team a call.

Why you might need to be induced

There are a number of typical reasons for inducing childbirth:

  • Your waters may have broken but your contractions might not have started.
  • There may be complications with your pregnancy and your baby needs to be born sooner rather than later.
  • You may simply be long past your due date.

What happens when you’re induced?

Doctors and midwives can induce childbirth in many ways. At worst you’ll feel uncomfortable or a little pain but your breathing exercises will help you through. Remember once they’ve induced labour, things might progress pretty quickly so be prepared! On the other hand, it can sometimes take a couple of days to get moving so don’t panic if nothing happens immediately!

The list below will tell you more about the ways in which you can be induced:

  • Membrane sweep – This is much like an internal examination. Your midwife or doctor will sweep your cervix with their finger to try and stretch it slightly and encourage labour to start. If successful, labour will usually start within 24-48 hours (this doesn’t always work, so don’t worry if it’s not successful).
  • Breaking your waters – If your cervix has started to dilate, your waters are broken using a long thin instrument. This is to encourage contractions but again it’s not 100% guaranteed.
  • Prostaglandin –This is a hormone that stimulates labour. It can be used as a gel or pessary placed at the neck of your womb.
  • Syntocinon – Given through a drip. Ask for a long tube so you can move around during labour. Syntocinon can kick start some quite intense contractions so you may want to consider an epidural. It’s often done in conjunction with breaking your waters.