I just learned that my doctor wants to induce my labor. What is going to happen?

With an induction, every health care provider has their own preferences and will tailor what they recommend to your specific circumstances. With many inductions, midwives and OB/GYNs may use a "prostaglandin gel" in the cervix to help it soften and dilate. We call that "ripening the cervix." Many times, using a prostaglandin gel one or two times will help the cervix soften and contractions will start. Sometimes, a provider will recommend that Pitocin is used. This is an intravenous (IV) medication that is biologically equal to the oxytocin that a woman's body produces when she's in labor. Pitocin will help contractions start and also helps them be stronger and more effective.

Some providers believe that rupturing the bag of waters is helpful, though many studies have shown no benefit with this approach for speeding up labor or helping with contractions. In any case, it's always best to check with your provider and ask them to give you an idea of what they prefer to use and what they will typically try if Plan A isn't effective. I've found with my patients that having an idea of what they might encounter helps them feel less anxious. Good luck.

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About The Author

Barbara Dehn is a regular contributor to www.thecradle.com and is a practicing Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, award winning author, and a nationally recognized health expert. Barbara wrote and publishes a series of innovative and award-winning women's health guides on Fertility, Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding. Her Blue Orchid Guides have been used by millions of women across the country and were designed to "Empower Women with Information." Barbara practices with Women Physicians in the heart of Silicon Valley. She has over 20 years experience listening to and caring for women. She's helped countless women and couples navigate their way through pregnancy and the transitions of parenthood.