Is Induced Labour More Painful? Everything You Should Know
Usually, labour begins naturally at the end of your pregnancy term. But sometimes you would need to undergo an induction
Usually, labour begins naturally at the end of your pregnancy term. But sometimes induced labour can be done for a few reasons.
What is induced labour?
Labour usually begins naturally. This is because there are processes in a woman's body that only respond when natural labour starts. These processes involve the baby, your brain and body. These three things work hand in hand. First, the baby tells your brain that he or she is ready to come out. Then your body and brain combine to release a hormone that causes your uterus to contract and send the baby out. Further down the line, the brain releases natural painkillers as you begin to push out.
Induced labour is when you start the above processes artificially. But the problem with induced labour is that it quickens those very important steps above. The baby doesn't communicate that it wants to come out. Neither does your body ask it whether it's ready to come out. Induced labour forces the baby out, ready or not. Everything is happening too fast. And this makes the pain difficult to manage. Because of this, induced labour is only carried out for very good reasons.
Why would a pregnant woman need an induction?
Here are possible reasons your doctors may choose to induce you:
- Past your due date
Usually, pregnancy is supposed to last for 37 to 42 weeks. Your menstrual cycle plays a part in your due date. Most women deliver around the 40-week mark. Therefore, if after that time the baby is still hesitating to come out, labour would have to be forced. A lot of hospitals carry out induced labour ten days after the due date.
- The baby sac tears
Throughout the pregnancy, your unborn baby lives in a sac. If this sac tears, then labour will have to be induced quickly. This is because if left for too long you risk catching an infection. Usually, doctors allow 24 hours to pass just to see if the mother can go into labour naturally. After that labour will be induced.
- Gestational Diabetes
You have developed diabetes during your pregnancy.
- Low amniotic fluid
As previously stated, your baby lives in a sac during pregnancy. Inside that sac, the baby is surrounded by water. The fluid is supplied through the water the mother drinks, while the baby absorbs and brings it out through urine. At 20 weeks, the baby's urine becomes the main source of the fluid in this sac. The quantity of this fluid will be steady depending on how much urine the baby passes and how much water the mother drinks. Sometimes, this water becomes low. And if that happens, you will have to be induced.
Risks of induced labour
The following are risks of induced labour.
- There's always the possibility of you needing surgery after labour has been induced. Your doctor will talk to you about this possibility.
- The medications used might affect your baby's heart rate. This is because the drug can sometimes cause excess contractions, which then reduces your baby's oxygen supply.
- One of the methods of induction involves tearing the sac artificially. This comes with the risk of infection, both for mother and baby.
- A tear in the uterus is a serious complication. This is rare but it still happens. You might need surgery if your uterus tears. Also, the uterus itself might need to be removed.
- After labour induction, the muscles in your uterus might not properly contract after you give birth, and this can cause serious bleeding.
Is labour induction safe?
Usually, doctors discuss the possibility of surgery with pregnant mums before labour induction. But a paper has found that induced labour at 39 weeks is as safe as waiting for labour to occur naturally. However, Dr Kate Walker says that she doesn't think her reaction would be to start inducing everyone who is low-risk tomorrow. But if a low-risk woman comes to her and asks for an induction, she's no longer going to say it increases the risk of cesarean delivery.