Essential Info: Labor Induction 

ANSWER “Many things occur with moms prior to going into labor. There is a physiological changing of your body. There’s a physiological changing of the structure of the cervix. These things all happened without your knowledge, and these are things to help facilitate the labor and birth process. If your body has not gone through those changes, has not made those changes, is not those steps, it is going to make an induction, a difficult process and everybody is different as to how their body reacts to Pitocin to induction. You have to get to that point where the cervix is what we call ripe, and then, that makes you more susceptible to the medicine that is used for induction. But that process can take a long time.

In [many] hospital settings that means you’re not going to be given food, you’re not going to be given hydration other than an IV.

You’re going to be in a bed. So again, that is going to make the discomforts of labor worse because you’re just laying in bed and feeling this pain. Pitocin contractions are different. A natural contraction stimulated by the brain, by the pituitary gland is a gradual increase and it changes based on the stage of labor you’re on. Pitocin doesn’t understand what phase of labor you’re in, it just does the same thing, so you’re going to have a more intense, stronger contraction most of the time. And if this is a process that is going to take a long time because your body was not ready, it is exhausting to the mom. Very commonly in an induction a care provider will rupture your membranes, break your bag of waters and start Pitocin all at the same time, which is kind of like a double whammy because we know your contractions gets stronger when your water breaks and then you’re adding the Pitocin on it. So very common within a half an hour. Mom is asking for some sort of pain management.

So there is the active induction. It can be a long one. It can be a difficult one and again, if this is necessary, if there’s medical or obstetrical indications for it, then we kind of have to go along with the cards that you’re dealt. But just question the use of Pitocin. Question, the use of induction as to what the necessity of and the impacts of you and your baby. Because it is forcing your body, therefore it’s going to take longer for your body to adjust. The normal processes of getting your body ready for labor and delivery takes weeks prior to the onset of labor. If you allow your body to do it naturally. In the hospital, a lot of times you’re on a timeframe, “we’re going to want to see progress within a couple of hours. If you’re not progressing like this” and your body has not had a chance to even get to that point.

It’s like when you’re woken up in the middle of the night, say the phone rings, you’re not expecting it. You automatically go into this, this survival mode, your heart rate increases, your body changes, the circulation changes. It’s a fear factor. It’s probably the same thing with your body that hasn’t had that chance to wake up normally or slowly with the process as opposed to all of a sudden it’s there. It is that unanticipated fear factor and startle to a process that it was not ready for as opposed to a gradual awakening or a gradual realization of what’s going on with you and your body.”

Sheila Love, CNM
RN, BSN, CNM, MSM, EFM-C. Certified Nurse Midwife. ADN, 1980 Broward County Community College, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, BSN: 1992 Florida International University, North Miami, Florida. CNM: 1997 Frontier School of Nurse Midwifery, Hyden Kentucky. MSM: 2001 Master’s in Midwifery, Philadelphia... Read More