When labour needs to be induced

An induction is a way of starting labour. There are many reasons why labour may need to be started or induced. Talk with your healthcare provider about the reasons for induction. Our goal at Queensway Carleton Hospital is to create a safe and caring environment for you and your baby. This is very important to us as we plan for your induction.

If your healthcare provider and you have made a decision that it is or may be necessary to induce labour, your healthcare provider will send an Induction Request form to the Birth Unit with a requested date for your induction. That request will then be placed in a priority sequence. The activity of the unit, along with the priority sequence will determine what time you will be asked to arrive at the hospital.

You may be called on short notice therefore we recommend that you be prepared to come to hospital as close to the date that your healthcare provider has requested for you. It is important that you plan ahead for other things such as childcare. Remember to keep eating and drinking well and get lots of rest.

There are different ways that your labour may be started using one or a combination of the different methods. Your healthcare provider will assess your cervix to determine the best method. Below is a brief explanation of each of the methods.

Prostaglandin gel

Prostaglandin is a hormone that helps make the cervix softer and shorter in preparation for labour. It is put into the vagina during a vaginal examination. The cervix may dilate (open) a little. When the cervix is dilating and contractions begin, labour starts.

Rupture of membranes (breaking your water)

Labour may be started by rupturing the membranes if: the cervix is open or partly dilated, and the baby’s head is well down in the pelvis. Many women go into labour within a few hours of having their membranes ruptured. As long as there are no other problems, walking after membranes have been ruptured is encouraged. Walking helps to start labour and helps the patient to cope with labour pain. If labour does not begin within a reasonable time, a medication called Oxytocin may also be needed.

Oxytocin medication

Oxytocin is a hormone that gradually starts contractions of the uterus. This medication is given through an intravenous (IV) in the arm. The baby’s heartbeat and your contractions will be closely monitored throughout this kind of induction. During induction, you can move around in bed, sit in the chair, get up to use the bathroom and, if a cordless monitor is available, you may also walk around.

Foley Catheter induction

A catheter is inserted into the cervix, which causes the production of natural prostaglandins. The prostaglandins will soften or shorten the cervix. The cervix may dilate (open) or contractions may begin.

Misoprostol (Cytotec) Medication

A hormone is taken orally that gradually starts contractions of the uterus. You will have to stay in hospital with this method of induction.