Not how you imagined it, but sometimes a necessity.
Sometimes you wait and wait… and the birth doesn’t want to start….
Sometimes the doctors at the hospital decide for safety reasons to induce birth.
In Germany you do this only in a hospital. Please do not try anything at home, as it could harm you and your baby.
A normal pregnancy lasts 38-42 weeks (average 40 weeks = 280d after last menstrual period = 9 months). When the due date has passed your OBGYN or the assigned hospital will check up on you every two days. You will be admitted to hospital after roughly 7 days to discuss options (inducement, waiting or c - section). In Germany it is quite normal to wait up to 1 week before acting.
Reasons for Induction
After that the placenta might not work as good as before. There is a risk that your baby is not adequately nourished anymore. The complication rate is rising with every day now. Also, the rate of dead babies rises from the 41th week on. Studies have shown that it is important to react after 40+7 SSW (pregnancy week).
Hence the close monitoring.
Methods of Induction
There are different methods to stimulate contractions:
1. Prostaglandin gel
One possibility is prostaglandin gel on the cervix. The other is in form of a tablet (oral). These two methods are the most common ones. Prostaglandin reduces the resistance of the cervix and promotes its maturation.
2. Ballon Dialatation
When this method is used there is a catheter with a double balloon, one in front of the inner and one in front of the outer cervix, filled with physiological saline solution. This causes a gentle pressure on the cervix and thereby promotes the body's own prostaglandin release. Prostaglandins are substances that trigger contractions and loosen the tissue at the cervix. This facilitates and supports the opening of the cervix.
3. Labour Cocktail
Some hospitals give a “labour cocktail” containing Rizinusöl (castor oil), apricot juice and Prosecco. The oil has a laxative effect and the prosecco helps you to relax. Just before delivery it is allowed in some hospitals to have alcohol in this cocktail. Your hospital will inform you about that and everybody must decide on her own if she takes it or not. Do not under any circumstances take this yourself at home.
Another possibility to start contractions is to give an enema. If it is not your first pregnancy or if your cervix is already a little bit open you can give an infusion with oxytocin.
In case of an inducement your hospital will find the best way for you.
The most important thing is that you and your partner are not overwhelmed but try to decide together. Try to stay calm and relaxed. Everybody wants the best for you and your baby and sometimes a birth does not start as you imagined it.
But it is still a birth – it is the birth of your baby – it is a special moment. Try to accept the situation and try to make the best of it.
This result is the best you ever got: your sweet baby!
January 2020 - revised November 2020
Dr. Christine Krämer, M.D.
This blog post has been prepared with the greatest possible care and does not claim to be correct, complete or up-to-date.“
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