It’s time to go. You’ve done everything right for nine months and you’re feeling the first stage of labor begin. You are packed and ready for the trip to the hospital, you load up the vehicle and are on your way. But what now?
Labor and birth are divided into a three stage process. Stage one is Now. It is the onset of your contractions and with contractions comes the incremental changes of the cervix that end with the full dilation of it. Stage one can be divided into two stages itself. You have early, which is latent labor, and then you have active labor. With early labor the cervix thins out and opens. This is followed by active labor in which the cervix dilates more quickly and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. This is the transition.
The second stage begins after dilation is fully complete and ends once your baby is born. This is the pushing stage of your labor. The third and final stage begins right after the birth of your child and ends with the separation and delivery of the placenta.
If the labor process does not start on its own the practitioner may see the need to induce labor with the use of medication or other techniques that induce contractions. If the process slows down or stops again the same medications can be used to continue the augmentation of your labor. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that one in five births is induced in the United States.
The recommendation of induced labor will be given by your health practitioner. It is only recommended when the risk of waiting for labor to start naturally are higher than the risks of inducing the labor manually. The induction of manual labor will be a consideration if the Mother is still pregnant one to two weeks past the set due date. Most practitioners will not wait past this two week point due to the high risk of problems to the baby. Waiting longer could increase the risk of stillborn birth or a range of other serious problems.
Induction is generally safe but as with all medical and mechanical procedures there is risk involved. The most common risk is stress to the baby due to abnormally strong or long contractions.
When induced labor is not a considered option, or if vaginal delivery is an unsafe labor option your practitioner may consider a C-section rather than induction. C-sections are a widely used delivery option and are completely safe in most cases. The best method of delivery is the one that is safest for you and your baby and your practitioner will have the best delivery option at heart for your safety.