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What is Induction of Labor?

Labor induction means starting (inducing) labor instead of waiting for labor to begin on its own. Your doctor will decide if an induction of labor is right for you.

Your doctor or clinic staff will call Natividad Medical Center and arrange a time for you to arrive at the hospital for an evaluation and possible induction
of labor.

Note that sometimes a scheduled induction of labor may be delayed or postponed. This is because the Labor and Delivery Unit must give priority to women with urgent medical needs.

The hospital staff will do their best to keep you informed if your induction is postponed or delayed. As soon as the unit is able to see you, they will call you to come to the hospital. Still, you should be prepared to be flexible.

If your induction should be postponed for 24 hours or more, we will schedule an appointment in our Antenatal Testing Unit to monitor you and your baby to be sure you are both doing well.

At the Hospital

Reviewing your History
Once you are at the hospital, the team caring for you will review your pregnancy and medical records. Try to be patient if they are asking questions you have already answered. Sometimes double-checking is part of the safety process.

Checking your Baby
Before beginning your induction, the team will examine you to check;

  • Your baby’s heartbeat using a fetal monitor.
  • Your heart rate, blood pressure and temperature.
  • The position of baby inside your uterus.
  • The cervix to see how soft or if it is open.

Starting and Progressing Labor

Using the information above, the team will decide which method will be used to start your labor.

Induction Options

  • Pitocin by IV drip – this medicine would be given to you through a tube put in your veins. This is a synthetic version of the natural hormone that causes contractions. It would be increased at slow intervals until you have strong contractions.
  • Cytotec by mouth or vagina – this is a very tiny pill that can be taken by mouth or placed in your vagina and may cause contractions of your uterus.
  • Foley bulb induction – this is a tube that is inserted into your vagina then into your cervix (opening of the uterus), by the doctor and a balloon at the tip is inflated to open your cervix.
  • Amniotomy (breaking the bag of water) – this would be done during a vaginal exam and involves making an opening in the amniotic sac with a thin plastic hook. (You may feel a gush of warm fluid once it opens but no pain). This may intensify your labor contractions and would allow internal monitoring of your baby’s heartbeat and the strength of the uterine contractions if necessary.

Helping You Manage Labor Pain

Options for managing labor pain are the same if you are in natural labor or if your labor is being induced. The options are as follows:

Natural Techniques
A shower may be taken to relieve pain if your condition allows. Rocking chairs, labor balls and alternative positions in bed are also available.

IV Pain Medicine
This helps to reduce the strength of the pain and helps you to relax between contractions.

Epidural Anesthesia
This is medicine that is given directly into the spine (middle of your back) with a tiny tube that is placed there. It may help to relieve your pain from below your breasts to the mid-thigh area. You may still feel pressure and each person feels relief differently. You will still be able to move your legs, although they may feel heavy and sleepy. This will help you to rest during your contractions and conserve energy for the pushing phase.


Note: On the day of your scheduled induction please call Labor and Delivery at least 2 hours prior to your scheduled time to ensure that the unit is able to accommodate you.