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When to induce labour during pregnancy?

Inducing labour might not increase chances of c-section. © Shutterstock

We take a look at the situations that might make a doctor suggest inducing labour

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : June 20, 2018 4:22 PM IST

There are a lot of times when labour has to be induced in an expectant mom to help her deliver her baby. This is done to give the mother a medical start to experience labour pains if it doesn't start on time or during the expected delivery date (EDD). In general, a pregnancy lasts for nine months and labour can start either few days prior to the expected delivery date or after the said date. Here is how to calculate your expected delivery date or EDD.

However, in some expectant mothers, labour pains don't start on their own even if they have crossed their EDD; this is when doctors usually suggest inducing labour. In other cases inducing labour might become necessary if there are any medical conditions that threaten the maternal and foetal wellbeing. Here are 12 ways to induce labour naturally.

Here we take a look at the situations that might make a doctor suggest inducing labour:

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Fetal problems: There are two conditions pertaining to the fetus when the doctor might want to induce labour. First, if the baby is not growing adequately in the womb leading to what is called fetal growth reduction. In such circumstances, it is usually advised to induce labour and get the baby out. The other condition is when the pregnancy stretches beyond the expected delivery date. If the baby is beyond full term or more than 42 weeks in the womb and labour pain has not yet started then the most viable option is to induce labour to deliver the baby soon. Read to know if inducing labour increases the chances of going for a c-section.

Maternal health: Some health conditions like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure can make it difficult for the mother to go into labour naturally and so it has to be induced. Especially, in a condition like high blood pressure, it could lead to eclampsia where the mother can experience convulsion followed by coma, which could be a threat to both the mother and baby. Here is why you should be worried about pregnancy induced hypertension.

Premature rupture of membranes: This is the condition in which the membranes break (the ones which hold and keeps the baby intact in the womb) and the amniotic fluid keeps leaking out. If labour pains don't start this could mean that the baby is in trouble as the levels of amniotic fluid keep decreasing steadily. So a labour is induced to speed up the entire process. Here are five reasons why the water bag breaks early.

Oligohydramnios: This is the condition identified with low amniotic fluid in the womb. This condition could serve as an indication that there might be a problem in the urinary tract of the fetus. Also, low amniotic fluid makes it difficult for the baby to thrive in the womb, so inducing labour in such a situation becomes necessary.

How is it done?

There are two ways in which labour can be induced:

Artificial rupture of the membrane: This is done with a sterile instrument through the vagina. It releases a gush of amniotic fluid and is painless. This stimulates the prostaglandin hormone which initiates labour pains. This also helps the doctor to check for meconium in amniotic fluid (green or dark coloured fluid) which indicates that the baby has been passing stool in the womb due to fetal distress.

Oxytocin injections: This is given as an intravenous drip with synthetic oxytocin injection added to it which helps to speed up labour.

Image source: Shutterstock

Inputs are taken from the book Garbhasanskar by Dr Vikram Shah and Geetanjali Shah

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