There are several reasons you might be told by medical professionals that you may need to have labour induced.
An induction might be advised if you:
- go past your due date
- have broken waters but no contractions
- find there are concerns about your health
- find there are concerns about your baby’s health
- your baby’s growth appears to have stopped, which could be picked up at a 35/36-week growth scan.
Being induced might not be on your birth plan, but since the most important thing is getting your bundle of joy out safely and soundly – in the end, an induction might be your best option.
Just because you’ve found out you might need one – or that you’re definitely having one – doesn’t mean you need to worry, though!
There’s lots of scary stories out there, but loads of mums have been in your shoes, and many of them had a positive experience of being induced, or at least, though it was painful or uncomfortable, found it wasn’t as awful as they’d imagined.
Mums reveal what having an induction is really like…
“Everyone frightened me – but my induction was relaxed’
“[I was] induced at 39 weeks due to gestational diabetes and baby growth, says @laurameredithx of her induction.
“My little miracle was born 9 hours after induction and 20 minutes of pushing. It was a lovely labour.
“Everyone frightened me into thinking it would be awful being induced but my experience was very controlled and relaxed.”
Kat G was also induced due to growth issues: “We had static growth weeks 38-40, due to my placenta giving up.
“I was induced and [given an emergency C-section] under anaesthetic at just 4cm dilated. My worst nightmare, but you know what, it was fine.
“He’s a super amazing nearly 9 month old now. It’ll all be ok! Hypnobirthing helped me no end, as well as a strict birth plan which helped my midwives to work as closely as was safe to my wishes, which made it a really positive experience.
‘It completely depends on how your body reacts’
Jakki0356 told our forum mums: “They will more than likely give you a pessary at first, which will soften you cervix, allowing it to dilate reasonably quickly. Sometimes, this is enough.
“The next stage is either another pessary, or if you are 2-3 cm, they will break your waters. This is quite uncomfortable, so I recommend gas and air to hand!
“If you are having more problems dilating, they sometimes will stretch you to 4 cm or pull your womb forward (which they did with me) – again, gas and air!
“The next step is a drip. it brings on your contractions strong and fast.
“I was rather unlucky in the fact that I had all of the above! It’s not too bad, so nothing to worry about.”
‘Induction shouldn’t be feared – I had one yesterday!’
@mumvsboys told us: “I was induced yesterday because of growth problems so it’s all still very fresh.
“My advice would be ‘keep your head in the game’! Baby might not be coming how you want but they were always coming so focus on that thought and use it to push through (pun intended).
“I don’t think induction is something to be feared but [my] body was not at all ready to have a baby and out he came in 90 minutes! You’ve got this mama!”
@scouse_sarah also added: “I had my daughter at 35 weeks due to her growth stopping. It was fine.
“She was tiny (5lb 12oz) but perfect. She didnt need any extra help with anything. She’s now 5 years old and the tallest in her class and as bright as a button.”
‘It’s not too bad – at least you know when you’re going in’
JennieEvie from our forum added: “When I was induced, I had a sweep first then sent home for 2 days.
“When I went back I was 1cm dilated, they then gave me a pessary which got me to 2cm, they then broke my waters, which really starts the pain, but having your waters broken didn’t hurt at all, I was put on a drip as contractions weren’t regular.
“I had some pethadine but after 5 hrs I’d had enough so had an epidural.
“All in all after 17 hrs in the delivery room I had my daughter Evie. I agree, it’s not bad being induced – at least you no know when you’re going in!”
‘I was induced because of my Obstetric Cholestasis’
@beani3 on our forum shared: “I was induced 2 weeks early as I developed Obstetric Cholestasis (liver condition).
I was at the hospital for 3 days and had my baby on the third day. Had 2 lots of gels but only had very mild period like cramps for 2 days – not enough to take any pain relief.
“Baby and I were strapped up every 4 hours, day and night, to be monitored (that itself was exhausting as I couldn’t properly rest).
“The night of the second day the pain really intensified but I was encouraged to walk around/keep moving (soooo difficult!!)
“By the morning of the third day I was waiting to be examined by the doctor as a C-section was being discussed and POP waters broke naturally!”
‘Speak to your midwife about hand expressing colostrum – it helps’
@amyjo53 was really candid about her experience. “Normal growth/pregnancy fine and then boom 36 week growth scan worry worry worry.
“I was induced at 37+6 and had my daughter at 38 weeks exactly to a room full of doctors who all disappeared when she was weighed – because whilst she was a teeny 5lb 8oz, that was 8oz more than the cut off to worry apparently.
“I never found out the reason why she stopped fronting (likely just a pants placenta) and to be honest I’ve been too busy ever since to chase it up. Much better to get them out if they’re not thriving in there.
“Speak to your midwife about hand expressing colostrum if you are getting induced as I’m sure this helped my induction (absolutely fine by the way!) and getting kickstarted with breastfeeding!”
‘It was scary – but it was reassuring being monitored in hospital’
Lots of our mums really did think their inductions were ‘fine’ and very positive, but of course, that’s not the case for every mum-to-be.
@unclassified_mummy says though she found it scary – having her baby delivered safely helped melt away the fear.
“I was induced due to failure to thrive,” she says. “My induction was scary and it didnt help that I had pre-natal anxiety.
“However, I was reasssured from constant monitoring being in hospital. My labour was only 2 hours.
“Out popped a healthy 5lb baby and I was straight back to my normal self. All anxieties disappeared.”
‘Mine was quite painful – but it’s all about the mindset’
“I was induced last year as I lost a baby at 16 weeks, not going to lie it was quite painful,” says @rachyroodle86.
“However, as my consultant told me, when you know you’re going to have a baby at the end of it you go into it in a completely different mind set which makes all the difference!
“I hope everything goes well for you. My rainbow baby is due next week.”
BabyJ2017 also reckons your mindset makes all the difference, adding:
“The week before I was adamant that little man would be early that I wasn’t going over so Thursday before my due date went for massive walk,” she says.
“Friday I lost my plug, Saturday my waters broke. Went to hospital on the Saturday morning to be sent home as no contractions.
“Told if anything changed to get back in touch… or to call at 8am Sunday morning so I can be induced. Eventually went in on the Sunday at 4pm. Was given the hormone drip to start my labour off.
“I found it to be relaxing as the midwife spoke to and told me every little step by step guide what would be happening.
“I would say keep and open mind and keep calm and you should be fine. Any questions you have, how ever stupid you may think they are, just ask.”
‘I can recommend an epidural!’
@chinkerbelle007 had gestational diabetes, so knew an induction was likely to be on the cards.
“Had no end of different opinions on early induction due to gestational diabetes,” she says.
“In the end I begged to no avail and had to be induced at exactly 41 weeks. It was horrific so take the epidural!!!”
Emily A also recommended an epidural for an induction. “Induced at 36+4 two months ago due to preeclampsia. My baby is perfect. I can recommend an epidural as early as poss??”
‘If I had the choice, I’d wait and see what happened instead’
Leanne A had a choice of an induction or waiting for baby to arrive. She chose the former.
“I was induced due to baby’s growth (she was a chunk). I was offered the induction or to wait and monitor but being so close to Christmas I was induced at 38 weeks.
“Baby was fine! And everything turned out OK in the end but there were lots of complications.
“If I were to go back and be given the choice I’d wait and see!”
Whatever happens, try not to stress too much
We hope, if you’ve found out you may need an induction, that you don’t worry too much!
Lots of our mums seemed to find out that an induction was coming at 35-week growth scans to check their babies’ progress, to which ellenox said: “I wish we had a window/screen in our tummies like teletubbies, just so we don’t have to wait for an appointment to see if our babies are okay!”
Indeed, you may be offered the choice, in which case we’d suggest mulling over what our mums have said, reading some more of the really in-depth induction stories on our forum, and reading about the process of being induced while making your decision.
If you DO need to be induced, rest assured that its likely the best thing for both you and your baby’s health. It might not be a walk in the park, but hopefully so worth it in the end.
Share your story
Do you want to tell us about your induction? Maybe you feel there’s something you wish you’d known beforehand?
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Images: Getty Images