When Should Labour Be Induced?

Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, discusses when labour should be induced.

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Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, discusses when labour should be induced.
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Featuring Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP
When Should Labour Be Induced?
Duration: 2 minutes, 47 seconds

Induction of labour is a process that artificially tries to simulate Mother Nature.

And by doing so it's trying to encourage your contractions to start and your baby to move down the birth canal and start the process of birth.

Unfortunately, no medical science is as good as Mother Nature, and induction of labour is challenging for women, and everybody tries to avoid it if they can. However, there are certain situations where you'll be told by your care provider that probably it's time to have your baby.

And by doing that, your doctor or your midwife is trying to decide, hmm, maybe it's more appropriate for your baby to start growing on its own outside of your uterus, than to stay and grow more inside of your uterus.

And certain circumstances where this might be the case is for ex, women can develop quite bad hyper during their pregnancy or they can have their water break and no labor. So in those circumstances people are encourage to consider induction of labor. A common situation that also arises is when women are quite overdue, past their due date and are perhaps getting a bit impatient and wanting to get on with their labor.

Again, induction is a challenging situation and certain problems can arise from it, so people are encouraged to be patient in that circumstance and try and wait for labor to start on its own.

The challenges of induction are that most of the time, it's quite medicalized, and it happens in a hospital setting for the most part. And that's not normal. You know, people labor best and most effectively when they're in an environment where they're more comfortable, and generally, that's at home.

But if you're brought into the hospital to start this artificial process of induction, it's a little bit harder for women to stay comfortable, and stay relaxed, and they tend to use more things as their labor goes along.

And that would include more pain medication and sometimes they need more help actually having their birth in the form of either assisted birth; by that I mean things like forceps or vacuum or even cesarean section.

So, in many ways, induction of labor is a bit of a departure from a normal birth, right from the start. Induction of labor is a conversation that usually happens at the end of your pregnancy, and it's usually in response to something that is a bit unusual about your pregnancy.

I think your doctor or your midwife in that circumstance will probably have a lengthy conversation with you about your choices, and it's important for you to make sure that you ask all your questions around this challenging situation.

Presenter: Dr. Heather Jenkins, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.