Induction of labour
Depending on how your pregnancy is progressing, you may need to have an induction, which means helping your body to start labour. An induction can be performed in several ways and sometimes a combination of two or more methods will be used. These include:
Gel insertion – this involves inserting a prostaglandin pessary or gel into your vagina, to help the cervix to soften and open. This, in turn, tells your uterus to start contracting. Some women need two or three doses of gel before labour begins.
Oxytocin drip – this method involves an intravenous (IV) line (or drip) being inserted into a vein in your arm, and the oxytocin hormone being slowly delivered into your blood to help your uterus start contracting. The drip may be used alone or with a gel insertion.
Balloon induction – this involves a catheter being inserted into your vagina. Water is then pumped into the device, which gently puts pressure on your cervix, assisting dilation and encouraging your uterus to start contracting.
Rupture of membranes (breaking waters) – this method involves rupturing the membrane, or bag of fluid, around your baby. Your membrane is gently broken using an ‘amnihook’, which looks like a long crochet hook, and the gush of fluid may encourage your uterus to start contracting and bring on labour.