Updated: Apr 27, 2019
Is induction of labour natural? Do I need one?
You have heard this term many times, but what does it mean?
Induction of labour (IOL) is any medical intervention that stimulates the onset of labour contractions. We still hope for a natural delivery.
Do I need an IOL?
Yes, if you have hypertension, small baby or diabetes. This may necessitate an early delivery before due date. Only when there is no immediate danger to you or baby, IOL is safe.
What are my risks of IOL?
Hyper-stimulation of womb — Overly frequent contractions may stress the baby.
Womb rupture — this serious complication is very rare. The main risk factors for rupture are previous C-section and parity.
Emergency C-section — If IOL fails, a c-section is then recommended to deliver the baby.
How is an IOL performed?
Labour starts when the cervix initially softens and dilates. This is achieved by prostaglandin medication vaginally. Once the cervix is adequately dilated, the membranes (fore-waters) can be ruptured and an oxytocin infusion is then used to maintain labour contractions.
Myths of IOL
#1 The woman suffers unnecessary pain
This is not necessarily true. Some patients may experience mild cramps while the cervix is responding to the prostaglandin medication. She is encouraged to ambulate.
#2. IOL is unnatural
There is nothing unnatural about going through a labour stimulated by IOL. Once labour is established, the same rules on progress of labour apply.