Starting and Inducing Labor
Berkeley Parents Network >
Pregnancy & Childbirth >
Starting and Inducing Labor
though i'm not prego yet with our hopeful second child, i wanted
to get some info on natural birth. my background: i am all for
medical advancements to make things easier, so if i want less
pain during my labor, i'm all for it. (hey, people take meds for
headaches, colds, etc...) since i was almost 10 months prego, i
was practically forced to give birth. with pitocin. with a
horrible nurse who wouldn't give me any epidural because i didn't
dilate at all. it was sooooo awful, and they finally gave me the
epidural after i was screaming and moaning for at least an hour,
if not more. i think i was contracting every other minute or
every two minutes with pitocin without pain meds. btw, i began to
dilate quickly once i was able to relax after the epidural. i'm
grateful that the baby was healthy, but the experience was
so here's the question: how do labor pains from pitocin and
pitocin-free births compare? are natural labor pains more
tolerable? i'm not against epidurals, but i feel like the doctors
won't let labor progress naturally because they just think about
getting the baby out quickly. unless it's medically necessary,
i'm totally against using pitocin, and i feel like if i'm adamant
about a drug-free birth, the hospital will be more respectful
about not forcing pitocin on me.
thanks in advance.
My first birth was 19 hours from the time we were admitted into
L&D to time of birth. After 12 hours of labor and when my
prenatal doc came on duty (Santa Clara Kaiser), I finally agreed
to the pitocin. The pitocin made my contractions more frequent,
but I didn't feel like they got stronger. Though my doctor did
comment that I had too big of a smile on my face for someone
getting pitocin. Maybe the labor pain was more, but since I had
wanted a natural birth without pain meds, I think mentally I was
My second birth was just 3 weeks ago. This time I went into
labor at work at 8am. By the time my husband came to my work to
get me and drive down to Santa Clara, I was already 9cm dilated.
We were admitted at 11:30 am and my daughter was born at 1:11pm.
So a much shorter labor. And no pitocin needed this time. No
IVs nor pain meds. So given it's your 2nd child, you may not be
needing the pitocin.
As for labor pain, both times feel similar, there is a 3 year gap
so can't say my memory is all there. But the delivery pain felt
stronger this time, I felt everything was ripping down there, yet
surprisingly I got the tiniest tear this time around.
Best wishes to you.
I've had a pitocin-induced birth (without epidural) and a natural
(no pitocin) labor. The ''natural'' one was SOOOOO much better.
However, let me add that it was my second birth and I hear that
the second births are usually easier anyway.
In my experience, being on the pitocin drip really limited my
mobility. They let me walk around for awhile, but then one thing
let to another, and eventually I was flat on my back under dr's
orders. Horrible. Without the pitocin, I walked the hospital
and fully credit it for speeding up the labor and decreasing the
intensity of the pain. When I say I walked...I mean, I walked
and walked and walked for hours. Sometimes I jogged or did
hula-hoop moves during contractions. But! Better than being
stuck in a hospital room! Kept me distracted and busy even if I
was stuck just on one hospital floor.
The final stage of dilation was hellacious for both births but
went much faster with the ''natural'' birth. It was almost a
surprise to me to feel that last bit of pain because my second
birth hadn't really given me any pain up until the very end. At
any rate - I felt awesome after my second birth. I felt totally
wrecked and exhausted after my first.
Hi, my first daughter was a natural childbirth (water broke on
its own, labor progressed fine, no drugs until after she was
born and they were sewing me up.) Second daughter was also
natural childbirth, but they did break my water at 41w, then
pitocin to regulate the contractions, so I can compare the two
experiences without pain meds (from what I recall--you know, we
all block out the pain a bit afterward). Basically, I felt
contractions in both case were the same--the worst pain I've
felt in my life, but discrete, so that I could breathe through
the contraction and take a short break in between. I think the
difference with pitocin is that I went from 5cm to fully
dilated in just a few hours, as opposed to 10h with no
pitocin. So, the rate that contractions come at you is
faster. This will probably be the case with your second baby
anyways. So, I don't believe when people say pitocin
contractions are more painful. They're not more painful--you
just get less of a break. Let's face it--ALL contractions
hurt, but are worth it in the end! You should do what YOU want
and keep looking for a doctor/midwife until you find one that
supports what YOU want!
been there, done that both ways
I can't answer the comparison of pain question you raise re:
pitocin. But I can say that in the ''tool kit'' of natural
childbirth methods their are natural drug free ways to encourage
dilation that may help birthing moms avoid pitocin and to provide
comfort measures that may help a mom inclined that way toward a
drug free birth. I have also seen epidurals help women to relax
and dilate. I'm a doula in training and would be happy to talk
with you about such strategies as you envision a second birth-no
obligation. I'd just appreciate the opportunity to share what
I'm so sorry you had such an unpleasant first birth experience.
I intended to go med-free with my first birth, but my water broke and
I had no contractions, so I was induced with pitocin. At about 5cm
(not that I knew I was 5cm when I asked for it) the pain felt way too
intense and I asked for (and got) an epidural. I then labored
relatively comfortably for another 5 hours, then pushed rather
painfully -despite the epidural- for 3 1/2 hours.
With my second, I basically anticipated a repeat of #1 and didn't put
as much thought into it. BUT, I ended up with no pitocin, no
epidural, not even an IV for fluids! It was not one of those too
quick to do it situations, I just in the moment decided to go for it
and then I kept on going for it. In the back of my mind I remembered
one study arguing that babies breastfed more readily when they came
out drug-free. I'm not even sure that study is true, but since #1
breastfed horribly, I was really focused on that thought this time.
So the cons with #2: it REALLY hurt. And then I hemorrhaged (didn't
with #1) and ended up feeling more ill after birth of #2 than I had
after #1 with all the drugs in my system. And, after all that, #2 had
just as many breastfeeding problems as #1.
But the pros: kind of cool to get to say I did it, and heck, it's all
over in a matter of hours anyway. Also, not sure if this one went
faster because it was #2 or because it was med-free, but either way it
DID go faster. (Light contractions first began at 4pm, baby was born
by 5:45am next day-- vs. #1: water broke at noon, baby born 11:15am
As for pitocin labor vs. ''regular'' labor--honestly they both hurt.
Everyone said pitocin labor was worse, which was a thought that
powered me through at least the first 5cm of labor #2...but I'm not
sure it was that much worse.
My best advice to you is go in with an open mind, but if you think you
are going to want pain meds find a doctor/midwife/hospital that you
believe won't pressure you not to have them! (And visa versa if you
think you are going to lean med-free) because to me the worst part of
either birth experience was with #1, when I was telling them I didn't
want an IV and would prefer to walk the halls to induce labor (etc.)
and they just kept haranguing me until I caved.
I also suggest a birth doula no matter what style of birth you end up
going with. I wish you the best with your future family!
Mom of 2 who tried it both ways
I would highly recommend looking for a doctor who is supportive of
natural birth. Even better, find a midwife who has a lot of
experience with drug-free, natural births. Do some research on natural
birthing methods, like hypnobirthing and the Bradley method. When I
was pregnant for the first time, I went to a highly regarded OBGYN
only because I had heard of her reputation. Later, I found out that
her ''intervention'' rate was nearly 100% and decided she was not for
me. I found the most amazing midwife and discovered
hypnobirthing. I've had two children by drug-free births -- one of
which had minor complications (the baby was acynclitic and didn't
descend properly), but both births were joyful, exhilarating, and
PAIN- FREE. I believe that the combination of a knowledgeable,
supportive midwife and the use of the hypnobirthing methods made a
huge difference in the way the births turned out. If you and your
midwife are confident and comfortable in what you are doing, you will
not be pushed into using drugs.
Best of luck to you!
Maybe you should find a new physician. I was induced for both of
my pregnancies because my blood pressure went whacky...it was for
the health of both of us...usually a doctor will induce at your
point for the health of the baby. My doctor was perfectly fine
with me refusing medication with my first birth. I am a runner
and quite frankly, I have a really high pain threshold (I fell
flat on my face mid-way through a marathon a few months ago, cut
off the tip of my finger, but still managed to finish the race
and then went to get stitches...) Also, I was under a lot of
pressure from my friends to 'go natural.' But, I cried uncle
after 12-hours of hard labor with contractions that were
literally on top of each other (nor breaks). Like you, the
epidural, relaxed me, I progressed quickly with dilation and gave
birth within an hour.
On my second, everything progressed more quickly (I was already
more dilated when I was induced). I went in armed with a piece
of advice from a dear friend of mine (who is also an OB/Gyn). It
was 'no pain...uh, no pain.' I felt a little less tied to my
need for no medicine. I had an epidural after about 5-hours of
labor and out popped number two. All was well.
Do what works for you...ignore people who want to pressure you
into doing it their way...
I gave birth drug-free twice and would do it again in a
heartbeat, but I understand it's not for everyone. Everything
I've heard about pitocin says that it makes labor pains much
more intense. I think you can walk a middle ground if you like,
saying no to pitocin but still leaving yourself open to pain
relief if needed. Now that you've been through birth once, I'll
bet you'll be more comfortable advocating for yourself to the
hospital staff about your wants and needs -- it's easy to get
railroaded your first time through. You can always start out
aiming for drug free and then see how things go. If you're
interested in trying to go completely drug free, I highly
recommend checking out hypnobirthing and/or the Bradley
Method). Both my kids were hypno babies.
You Are Your Own Best Advocate
Hi, I had a drug-free pregnancy and summer 08 birth, and this is
my first child. I gave birth at a birth center in Oakland and
had a midwife (and her assist.), and two doulas (and my husband).
The support was incredible, both emotional and physical. From
what I understand, the reason why pitocin can make childbirth so
painful is because artificially inducing contractions causes them
to come fast and furious, not at the normal pace that your body
is designed to handle. Many women who are induced end up getting
an epidural later to numb the pain, and it snowballs from there,
as you know... My natural birth did include pain, but also a
myriad of other feelings, a lot of them beautiful to experience.
The experience of pain during natural childbirth changes many
times over the course of the birth, and the hormones your body
naturally releases in response to these pains, changes and
feelings, also help to block pain. There is another phenomeonon
that happens: you enter ''labor land''. When your contractions
increase in duration and come closer together, you lose concept
of time and space, and you will be living moment to moment,
existing only to work with your physical body to bring about the
birth. You may have experienced this during your previous labor,
but it sounds like it was intensely negative. Naturally, it is a
strange and wonderfully different state of conciousness. It is
hard to explain, but it is almost like you are no longer judging
your pain the way you do ''normally'', but instead, you learn to
ride the waves of labor as they come and go... My birth was 12
hours, which is considered a very normal length of time for a
natural birth. It felt like half that time to me. And, what is
''normal'' for another woman might be shorter or longer than
that...the important thing is that your body will take care of
you--it will do what it needs to do in the best way it can.
(Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is a huge step towards
a good birth.) To get more of a picture of what it is like, I
would say that childbirth education classes through a local
resource center, like Birthways (East Bay) or Natural Resources
(SF), during your pregnancy are INVALUABLE in helping you make
important decisions, and learn things you wouldn't otherwise--but
are good to consider. Only you can say what the right way for
you will be, but it is good you are willing to open yourself to
There is Beauty in Labor
Here are some books that may help you in your journey for a
better birth. You can have a GOOD birth experience! 1)The
Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Rhonda
Wheeler; 2) Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin; and,
3) Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition by Susan
McCutcheon-Rosegg, Erick Ingraham, and Robert A. Bradley.
Natural Birth Momma
stay @ home if you can! and if you cant, have a birth plan
clearly available for all staff!get a Doula,bring everything
you can for pain management. I had wanted a natural birth in
the hospitol, am young and healthy with no complications and I
had to fight throughout my entire labor with a staff that ws
unable to assist someone goin natural(Kaiser) Once one
interference is made, especially PIT, it snowballs into a
completly controlled and unnatural birth, usually ending in C-
section. look up the statistics of C-sections with Pitocin. My
attending staff had never even witnessed a natural birth, and
they constantly changed staff on me. I was almost tricked into
having my membranes stripped at a check-up on my due date, even
though I was having contractions and perfectly normal, and then
had a doctor ''accidentally'' break my waters when I was 7cm
because I wasnt progressing fast enough and refused PIT or
ruptureing of my membranes. It was a nightmare that then led to
PIT and then some narcotic witch then led to an epidural when I
was almost fully dialated-witch almost ended in a C-section,
only because I wasnt progressing to there schedule. I was lucky
to have a determined nurse and doula who begged the MD to give
her an extra 1/2hour to pump PIT to its fullest amount(after
pushing without feeling it for 5hours)and luckily pushed the
baby out(tearing all the way)befor they forced a c-section on
me. It was horrable and I missed out on the true exp. and
wonderful endorphine rush that only natural birth can provide.
PIT ruined my labor, stalled my progress, caused me to loose my
ability to cope with the pain. I still wonder what effects it
has probably had on my body, and how I can detox it out of my
system. There was no reason I could not have had a natural
birth if the staff had supported it and assisted it instead of
constantly wanting to control it with PIT and intervention.I
was never even told the risks and effects of PIT.find out.
check ur hospitols stats. on PIT induced labors and C-section
rates...stay at home if u can!!!!!!!!!
PIT is the pits
I had my first child through natural childbirth 4 months ago
after taking a Bradley Method class with Ellen Klima in Oakland.
I highly recommend her.
It seems that every woman experiences childbirth pain
differently, based on the accounts given by other mothers. Of
course, a lot has to do with your body and physical shape (being
tall or short, fit or not, your tolerance to pain, etc), but I
strongly believe there is a huge mental aspect to it as well. For
myself, I would describe the physical pain as very intense
menstrual cramps. However, what struck me the most was how I
needed to focus and relax when I felt a contraction coming on. If
something distracted me or someone was talking to me, it became
overwhelming and the contraction was much worse than the ones
where I was left alone and I could concentrate on what was
happening. ''Losing control'' during a contraction was an awful
feeling but if I just took big breaths and relaxed, the
contraction really did feel manageable. I am tall (5'8'') and
tried to keep fit during my pregnancy, which probably contributed
to my speedy 7-hour labor, but I am really glad I had a natural
birth and would do it again in a heartbeat. A friend of mine who
just had her third child had her naturally whereas she had her
first 2 with an epidural. She told me she felt much better
afterwards than with the epidural which gave her a headache and
did not make her feel well.
I also strongly believe that walking or simply standing upright
helps speed things along, specially early in labor. Having an
epidural confines you to bed, so I would wait as long as possible
before getting one, if you must have one at all.
I hope this helps!
I had the pleasure of experiencing two non-pain medication
labors; the first totally under the influence of pitocin (my
water had broken and labor not started when the hospital wanted
it to), the second totally med free. The two were very
different; some things due to the pitocin, and some due to
first vs. second deliveries.
The contractions hurt about the same amount for each labor, but
the difference was that in the pitocin labor the contractions
came more frequently, had ''doubling'' (a small ineffective but
still painful contraction following the ''real'' one), and were
at high levels throughout the entire 11 hour labor. In other
words, it was very active labor (bordering on transition type
labor) for the entire 11 hours. And I felt no push urge; I was
told when I was dilated, and pushed as directed, but did not
feel the urge - I assume this was pitocin related, but am not
The totally natural labor was so much more pleasant.
Contractions, although painful, started off slowly and built up
through out labor (which only lasted 4 hours). I felt like I
was riding the labor, instead of being dragged along, if that
makes sense. It was a wild ride, but awesome. I progressed
quickly, and my water broke and I went from 5cm to 10cm in
about 15 minutes, and then the push urge hit and it was
amazing. My body knew just what to do (even though the doctor
was not in the room, and nurses were saying to wait). In my
case, there would not have been time for an epidural, even had
I wanted it. I was only at the hospital for about 1/2 hour
before my baby was born.
In retrospect, I realize the pitocin labor was extremely
difficult. The two experiences were completely different. But
don't get me wrong, the second labor still hurt, but was much,
much more tolerable.
Sounds like you have less-than pleasant memories of your first
birth. My experience was an all-natural 17 hour homebirth in the
peace and comfort of my home with my darling husband and my
wonderful midwives. There was no way that I was going to a
hospital to have my baby if I could help it. I'm a scientist and
can do statistics and those led me to conclude that I had a very
good chance of getting induced and/or C-section if I went to a
hospital with the added bonus that I would have no clue who the
nurses or OB were beforehand.
I read Ida May Gaskin's book, ''Ina May's Guide to Childbirth'' and
that contained numerous stories of childbirth, such that I became
unafraid of what was to come. I also read ''The thinking woman's
guide to childbirth'' which really freaked me out about hospitals.
I think the way to get through labor meds-free is to surrender to
the experience, not have fear, and know that our bodies are
capable of doing it. This is what I used as mantra. The water
tub certainly helped too.
I am a mother of 4. I have had a c-section and then 3 VBACS. My
VBACs were natural births. Natural labor pains are little more
tolerable than labor pains associated w/ pit.
My advice would be to hire a doula. My best births have been w/
a doula/midwife. If you are not a high-risk pt. -wait to go to
the hospital. With my 2nd birth (I had twins) I left for the
hospital at 7 cents. With my fourth I left for the hospital at
8 cents. I bounced on a birthing ball, listened to music, used
herbal therapy, sat in WATER (the best) - warm water in a
shower. Hopsitals have their policies and they are often a pain
in the neck ! So, stay at home as long as you can if you do not
have medical isses that could be dangerous.
Happy Birthing ! Try for natural. It is amazing !
I thought I'd chime in on this one...I was induced with my
first (water broke, nothing happened) and found the pain pretty
intolerable. I was contracting every minute like you, but not
dilating. The worst part for me was feeling like I had no
control over my body. I had wonderful nurses, however, who
agreed to take me off the pitocin, and lo and behold, I was
laboring naturally. The pain was just as bad, but my body was
in a natural rythym and it was much more tolerable.
With my second, I labored naturally from start to finish. Like
the first it hurt like mad, but it seemed like my body was
doing what it had to do, so it was tolerable!
Not a fan of pitocin
I had pitocin w/my first birth after labor stalled 10 hrs into
it. I did not need pitocin w/my 2nd birth. I did have an
epidural w/both. The differences were dramatic but hard to say
if it was all due to pitocin. Pitocin definitely made the
contractions much harder and faster and intense. They kept
turning it off/on b/c they didnt have enough nurses to
supervise so I could really feel the difference w/and w/o it.
My second labor stalled after a bit too but we decided to wait
to even think about pitocin and wound up not needing it. I
turned the corner on my own very quickly. I think knowing what
to expect from labor the second time around made me more
relaxed and helped me keep myself calmer and the lack of
tension seemed to help tremendously. I was offered an epidural
early on for my 2nd birth (not at all pushed on me, just given
the option) and I was not really even in pain so I felt weird
accepting it. But I also knew there was no reason to wait til I
wanted to die and I was not planning to try to go the whole way
w/o it so it made sense for me. The entire experience was so
much easier that it almost made it anticlimatic...Except for
that beautiful baby at the end part. From my friends
experiences, pitocin also made the contractions much harder and
intense but I have many friends who went all natural w/similar
stories -- so you never know. The big difference for me was a
doctor I liked better the second time around, a very good set
of nurses and anethesiologist for the epidural. I was more
confident, had more trust and knew what I wanted. The first
time around, even with a doula, my lack of experience made it
tougher. You know what you don't want, that will really help
you in the moment to decide what you do and what to ask for.
You already got a bunch of responses, but if you can stand one
more, here is mine: There is a very big difference between drugs
to reduce pain and drugs to induce labor. I wouldn't rule out the
first, and you may need the second. My first labor was induced
and I ended up not getting an epidural. I labored for 5 hours
with pitocin, contractions every 3 min or so. I got through it by
focusing on one contraction at a time, not thinking ahead or
planning but just being in the moment and concentrating on my
breathing. (I hadn't taken any particular classes or anything.)
By the time I requested an epidural it was ''too late'' and my baby
was born a couple hours later, after about 45 min of pushing.
(Which I thought was a lot at the time, and that I wasn't doing a
good job of it!)
With baby #2, I went into labor naturally and had mild
contractions all day before finally getting to the point of going
to the hospital at midnight. I requested an epidural right away
this time, but was told that it was too early and I needed to
dilate more. I labored all night and finally at 8 or 9am got an
epidural. Boy was I happy! My baby was born 3 hours later, after
only 30 min of pushing. (BTW, I did a lot of walking this time,
which I had ''missed'' the first time, but when I was doing it
thought ''Why did I want to walk?'' All I wanted to do was lie
down! So be careful what you wish for.)
BTW, both babies were born totally healthy and alert and neither
had any problems nursing. Some people, when hearing about birth
#1 call it ''natural'' which is crazy to me. I had pitocin, an IV,
fetal monitor, was flat on my back the whole time. The only thing
I didn't have was *pain relief*. The second time felt much more
natural to me, but after 8 hours in the hospital I had an
epidural so it doesn't count as ''natural''. Whatever.
The bottom line is, don't let them scare you off of getting pain
relief because you don't want pitocin. In my experience, the
contractions were similar with pitocin and without, they were
just more frequent with. Don't let them bully you. Also, don't go
in there alone. Be sure to bring someone who can advocate for
you. A woman in labor shouldn't have to make these decisions and
Best of luck to you!
There were lots of responses to this posting, and what I'd like to
underline is that they varied because different bodies and different
chemistries vary, so drugs will impact eash of us in distinct ways. My
first baby was two weeks late and I was induced first with an (ineffectual)
progesterone suppository, and then with pitocin. I am someone who
tends to respond pretty strongly to drugs and this was not an exception.
I found it dramatically more painful than my second (natural) childbirth,
and much more volatile. I was having what my midwife called ''titanic''
contractions that would be one after another and would last for several
minutes. This ended up distressing my baby who inhaled meconium.
The hospital kept having to turn off the pitocin drip and then I wouldn't
progress, so they'd put it back on, and then the titanic contractions would
recur. This was my body, and I understand that it doesn't happen to
everybody. For both of my labors, I labored for over 25 hours, but the
second time it was a revelation that it could be SO MUCH BETTER, a
real event in which I participated. Good luck in whatever you do!
Wishing you well.
Though there have already been many responses, I just wanted to
add that I had pitocin after my labor stalled for a very long
time, and I opted for a walking epidural to help with the added
intensity. It was great!! It still hurt, but the pain was much
more manageable. I was also able to still walk around and bounce
on the birth ball to get things moving and I wasn't limited to
pushing on my back.
Though you may not read this, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to
all the kind women who replied to my post. They were very
educational, and I'll be saving them for reference in the future.
While I'm a little disheartened that natural labor pains aren't
less painful than pitocin pains, perhaps I can handle the
not-so-relentless natural pain, with an option for epidural since
I'm short and scrawny when not prego. And I'll do my best to
stick to my plan.
Also, kudos to those who were not at a hospital!! I don't think I
can ever be that brave...
still traumatized but getting better
I am hoping to have a VBAC with my second child (first babe was
footling breech). My due date is tomorrow, but the baby hasn't
dropped, I'm not dilated, and my cervix isn't effaced. My doctor
told me today that she is reluctant to induce labor with pitocin
(at 42 weeks) but would maybe consider a small amount. She
really would prefer me having a C-section if I don't go into
labor naturally. We're going to try all the natural induction
methods first, but I am feeling worried. . . I really do not want
to have another C-section. Has anyone been induced for their
second birth after having a C-section? How was the experience?
Also, any thoughts on the risks of uterine rupture with pitocin?
Hoping for a VBAC
Let me offer my two cents -- consider taking the section. I
really wanted a VBAC for my third child, was very determined,
would not listen to my dr. re: risks of induction, etc. She
would not induce because malpractice insurance will not allow
it. The percentage of people who rupture may be reasonably
small but the consequences of rupture are enormous -- inc. very
possible death of baby, death of mother (yes, even today) and
emergency hysterectomy. In the end, I went into labor
naturally at 41.5 weeks. The baby was large, I pushed for
hours, ended up with a c section anyway, and the drs. noticed
that my uterine wall was very thin by the end and I might have
been near rupture. More than that, I ended up, once again,
with hours of labor PLUS a section, and now have damage from
the pushing that I would not have if I had just had the
section. If there was a next time, I would definitely just do
From the stats I have read, induction increases the risk of
rupture pretty dramatically. And, I have also read that if you
know the signs of rupture, they can manage it after the fact and
while you probably will lose your uterus, lots of blood, the
baby *should* be ok.
That said, I had c-section (emergency) for baby #1 and trying to
decide what route to go. A c-section + toddler is not an ideal
situation, but I am clear, after both my first birth experience
as well as previous pregnancy losses, that bringing home a
healthy baby is my first priority. I don't think I would do an
induction - again, from what I have read - but I may plan a c-
section. I have a few months to decide. I hope you don't have to
make this decision & your baby comes out on its own!
I was in exactly the same situation as you were, except I was
told that they would not induce. The primary reason I was given
was that, in my circumstances anyway, there was over a 90%
chance that I would end up with a C-section anyway. That figure
may depend on the reason for the original C-section (mine was
due to the lack of any progress after many hours of pushing and
absolute exhaustion on my part).
I completely understand your desire for a VBAC. However, in
case that doesn't work out for you, I would like to add that the
recovery from my second C-section (since I didn't go into labor
naturally) was MUCH easier than the first. I wish you all the
best for a healthy delivery.
I had a C-section the first time, and a VBAC the second time.
My doctor did a ''let it happen on its own'' approach with no
Pitocin, as it is safest to simply let the baby descend
naturally. The uterus can burst, so you don't want to take
Pitocin to move things along faster. Go with a natural descent!
Glad I had a VBAC
If you are worried about this and have 2 weeks to go, it might
help to start acupuncture. I had it with both my pregnancies,
and then just a tiny bit of pitocin in the hospital, things
really took off. Good luck!
Well, I hope this finds you on time!
I would not induce, unless you were at 42 weeks or your baby was
showing problematic signs. Any time you are asking your body and
baby to start labor before it happens spontaneously comes with
more risks. I would try to avoid Pitocin and especially Cytotec.
Since you're only 40 weeks (or maybe now 40 weeks and a few days)
why not wait until you're actually overdue, which is 42 weeks,
and that's only if your dates are accurate. OBs are pushy and it
is sad that VBAC is so frowned upon. I hope you get your VBAC!
Your body, your baby, your choice!
I was in your boat two and a half years ago. Try accupuncture
with Marti Lee Kennedy. She's got lots of recommendations on
the BPN site. She worked wonders for me and is just a
beautiful person. I can't recommend her highly enough.
I was two weeks past my due date with my first child 4.5 years
ago. I was REALLY sick of being pregnant and scheduled a
session with Marti. One treatment got my labor going
naturally. Unfortunately, two midwives and an OB had missed
that my son was breech, and after I pushed out a foot I ended
up in the hospital with an emergency C-section (that was a bad
day, but all's well that ends well). When baby #2 came along,
my docs were not thrilled with the VBAC option I wanted to
pursue, but said as long as I didn't go past my due date they'd
play along. Three days before my due date I went back to
Marti, had one session in the late afternoon, and went into
labor the next morning. Forty-five mintues later my second son
was born. I got to the hospital just in time for my doctor to
catch him. That part was unintentional, but I did get the
natural childbirth with #2 that I wanted.
While pitocin isn't the end all of methods for inductions, it dripped in my arm for 12
hours before I had ONE contraction, It is often used with varying degrees of success
with few complications. That said, my husband is an anesthesiologist. VBACS have
fallen out of favor BIG TIME because there have been a rash of ''bad outcomes.'' You
don't want the details but suffice it to say its devasting for EVERYONE involved in the
births. John Muir is one of the few places still doing VBACs with any regularity so if
you are not having your child there I would guess your doctor is reluctant to
continue the pregnancy and risk a complication whether its due to labor or
induction etc. I would probably side with your doctor and have your child by the
safest means possible given your docs concerns. The birth experience while touted
as a definative part of the motherhood experience is such a small part of being a
mom that I would forgoe the ideal for you simply to insure the safety of your baby.
This is written after watching my husband peel out of the driveway because there is
a STAT section, never a good thing.
It is my understanding that induction, pitocin & prostaglandins
(used for softening the cervix for induction) all carry
increased risk of uterine rupture. So definitely use any
natural method you can - I would recommend seeing an
acupuncturist and/or homeopath, as well as doing home measures
like evening primrose oil on the cervix, nipple stimulation,
having sex, and castor oil (as a last resort!)
One thing to remember though - you are not overdue yet. ''Term''
is considered 37-42 weeks, though you wouldn't know it from the
way we fixate on due dates. So you've still got two weeks
before you're overdue. A lot can happen in two weeks - perhaps
you can trust that your baby & body know what to do and you
will go in to labor easily and soon. It doesn't hurt to talk
to your baby about that too - let him/her know what you want
and ask baby what s/he needs to be born.
I feel for you - and I wish you a peaceful & powerful VBAC.
I would not even want to induce labor w/ pit after a c-section.
I had pit w/ my daughter and went through all of that before an
emergency c-section. Her head got stuck and we had to sew me up
and head off for surgery. That was in '05.
The only reason I had a VBAC w/ my twins (late '06) was because
I went into labor naturally at 36 weeks. My MD would not induce
Yes, c- sections are rough -but- what if you rupture ? Yes, the
percent is low - but - still. The thing is - you never know
what is going to happen. I tore so badly w/ my twins that they
had to sew and pack me. That was rough, too. Just please go w/
the recommendation of your MD.
I had a very successful VBAC almost three years ago which
included an induction. I was surprised but happy that my doctor
was willing to do this. I was induced due to high blood
pressure, but I was already starting to dilate before the
induction. It was about 2 weeks before my due date. I had both
pitocin and an epidural. I ended up with a fairly short labor
of 6 hours. So it can be done. My second baby was about 2
pounds lighter and in a much better position but that couldn't
really be told ahead of time. I haven't really heard any other
successful experiences but mine couldn't have gone more
I wanted to suggest that you question your assumptions about
whether a VBAC is better than a c-section. With my first child,
I was adamant about having natural birth, with no drugs or
anything. After 35 hours of labor (and induction), I had an
emergency c-section and cried my eyes out with disappointment.
With my second child, I went for a planned c-section and was SO
happy that I did. Because it was planned, we could arrange
childcare for our toddler, so my husband could be with me during
the surgery. And my recovery was A LOT faster than the first
time around, because my body wasn't exhausted from a long labor.
Plus my milk came in faster and I produced more - also because
my body wasn't so exhausted. The thing that put me off a VBAC
was the risk of uterine rupture. That risk far outweighed the
benefits. And, as it turned out, the c-section ended up having
more benefits than I expected. Oddly enough, my second child is
healthier than the first. I thought those hours of labor would
have some benefit for my first child, but I guess not. So
please, question your assumptions and do what is best for your
body and child, not what you think you ''should'' do.
I didn't see the original post, but all these responses sound
very ominous. I delivered my second baby VBAC. My water broke a
few days after my due date, but I did not progress, just very
mild contractions, for 30 hours. I then decided to start
pitocin. It worked like magic and I delivered my baby 12 hours
later. Your question seems to have been about induction, and as
I recall my doctor (Amy Huibonhoa) did not recommend induction,
but she felt that pitocin once labor had started was perfectly
safe. I'm just sharing this because it seemed like many
responders said pitocin was dangerous and for me at least, it was
No one mentioned this but there are herbs that are safe for
''natural'' induction if the need arises. Black and Blue Cohosh
work very well. I used them a few months ago myself. Also, they
don’t cause the painful contractions that pitocin generally
causes. Check the ICAN list for more answers but be forewarned
they are very into homebirth and all natural. I know it can turn
people off how adamant they get, but if you can ignore that I
think you can find great, accurate information. Also, find a
local midwife for other alternatives. Good luck with your VBAC. T
I wanted to recommend attempting a VBAC since I have just had an
extremely positive experience. I cannot remember all the details
of the original post and I did not have pitocin but all the
response experiences were quite negative and mine was positive. I
had an emergency C-section after a long (but not difficult
labour, with epidural) 2 years ago. My ob said that he was not
keen to induce or use pitocin after that, but was quite happy for
me to do a trial of labor for more than 2 weeks after my due
date. In the event I had a vaginal delivery (with epidural) 1
week late. It all went very smoothly. I have a feeling that they
might even have agreed to give me pitocin, had I needed it. The
difference in my overall experience and particularly recovery
period was immense. I had my baby 1 week ago. I had not thought
my C-section experience was bad at the time but I had to move
very slowly and carefully and everything ached and I took pain
killers for weeks. After the C-section, day 5 was the day we came
home from hospital. After the VBAC, day 2 was the day we came
home from hospital and day 5 was the day we went to a party (with
both kids). I hope things go well with you and am sure that
whatever decision you come to with your medical advisers will be
the right one.
I had to second the comment from the poster who asked you
to ''question your assumptions about whether a VBAC is better.'' I
totally agree, and had the same experience. Long labor with the
first, induction, emergency c-section, terrible disappointment.
I hang out with a crowd that does homebirth, and they were
terribly disapproving of my ''interventions,'' not that I had a
choice. The community can be very disempowering of women who
don't have the ''ideal, natural'' birth, but please keep safety
and other family issues primary over ''achieving the perfect
birth.'' I wanted a VBAC, but ended up needing to schedule a c-
section. Like the other poster, it was SOOO much better than the
first birth. Arranged childcare, husband with me, milk came in
faster and more so no nursing issues this time, fast procedure,
fast recovery (which is critical when you already have a child),
much less exhaustion. Despite the concerns that led to the c-
section, it was a very peaceful birth. My 2nd child is also
healthier than my first. It might sound like I'm advocating for
c-sections, but I'm really just advocating for safety and for us
to let go of standards that aren't realistic or safe in some
cases. Best of luck.
glad I did
Just wanted to respond with my POSITIVE VBAC experience. I
couldn't find any when I was doing my own research so this is
for all those mamma's who are considering it.
I had a C with the first due to the fact she was breech. I
never even felt a contraction - it was all scheduled. With my
second,the minute I got pg I knew I was going to deliver vag.
My due date came and went and still no labor. I did 4 sessions
of accupucture, took Blue and black cohash, ate every spicy
food in the East Bay and FINALLY 10 days after my due date I
went into labor for the first time. I labored at home ( WITH A
DOULA) for 20 hours. I headed into the hospital and at 22 hours
of labor and only 4 cm, I got an epidural. My contractions
didn't budge remaining at every 4 minutes ( Great! as this was
my biggest concern that my labor would slow) 2 hours later I
was complete and I needed to push.
I pushed for half an hour and out came my sweet baby boy. He
was 9lbs 12 oz!
It took me at least 6 weeks to come down from my VBAC high. It
was truely amazing.
I am pregnant with my second child (week 36, no problems). My
doctor recently told me that she recommends an induction around
the 39th week because she thinks my baby will be on the large
side (my first baby was 8 lbs 13 oz) and because I live and
work on the other side of the bay from the hospital. I would
be interested to hear from women who underwent an 'elective'
induction, if that is what one would call this. I don't feel I
have enough information to make a decision about this. Most of
the information I've found on the internet is negative. Is this
a procedure that some of you have had success with or is it
Congratulations on your new baby-to-be! I did not have an induction
myself, but I have researched it and other birth topics a fair bit.
Inductions can make labor harder and increase the risk of a cesarean.
Some of the things to consider are the fact that size estimates by
ultrasound or exams can be quite inaccurate, so it's hard to say how big
your baby will be, though I know you have some indication from your
first. Also, some people can really give birth to big babies quite
One of my friends had a 13 pound baby (needed the vacuum, but otherwise
fine). Was your last delivery difficult or do you fel okay with another
Also, inductions are more likely to be successful if your body is on its
way to labor already -- there is something called a Bishops score that
evaluates the cervix and how ''favorable'' it is for an induction, so
you might what to ask your OB about it. The gist of what I have read is
that cervical softeners may be a more gentle way to induce than pitocin,
but others argue that pitocin can be adjusted more finely than cervical
softeners, so you can discuss that with your OB. The other thing to
watch out for is that there are apparently some hospitals misusing a
drug called cytotec for cervical softening. This can lead to dangerous
complications and the manufacturer specifically warns against its use in
this setting. The appropriate drug is called cervidil. I think you are
doing the right things researching and evaluating this. There are pros
and cons, and you will find the path that is right for you!
Basing an induction on the size of your last baby is faulty, IMO.
My first baby was 8 lbs 15 oz and my second, 2 years later, was 7 lbs 12
oz. The first one was induced and the second was natural and I can tell
you it was a HUGE difference. Every pregnancy, every baby, and every
labor is different.
Labor inductions take some of the guesswork out of birth because you at
least know when you're going to be in labor. But birth is not
predictable. It is convenient for lots of folks (hospital, doctor,
parents, family) when the birth is induced. But unless there is a health
problem with the baby or mother it is not convenient for him/her. Babies
were meant to come when they are ready an ex-doula
I am a small person, under 5 feet and both my babies were nearly8
My first baby was induced at 41.5 weeks because I requested it. I just
couldn't stand being pregnant any more. Induction was via an application
of prostaglandin on the cervix which jump started contractions. This is
the slowest and most ''natural'' way to be induced. It went pretty
smoothly but very slowly. My labor was 36 hours. Baby was around 8
pounds, very healthy, and I did fine.
Second baby was a planned induction at 41 weeks. I did this based on the
first experience, knowing that my mom would be able to be in the
delivery room if I made an appointment. She isn't local so had to hop a
plane to be there. Induction was done via an application of cytoteck at
Alta Bates. It was a 2-hour labor and baby came out with cord wrapped
around her neck. It was too fast and too intense. But everything turned
out fine. I survived and baby was healthy. She was a few ounces shy of 8
I don't know if the manner of induction made the difference or if the
2nd one was so fast because it was a 2nd baby but given my cervix's
reluctance to open up, how large my babies were getting, and the
opportunity to have Grandma in the delivery room, I would do induction
again without hesitation Hope that helps.
While I hesitate to tell anyone how they should deliver their child, as
it is such a personal decision, you did ask for our experience, so here
goes. My first child was a scheduled induction because she was 10 days
late and I was freaking out. For me it was a total disaster, although,
actually, not total because my daughter was fine and healthy, but as an
experience it was traumatic. The pitocin gave me heavy contractions
every thirty seconds from 9 am until she was born just before 10 at
night, which is not a long labor but boy, it felt like it. In the end
they had to use forceps and I tore like a paper napkin. ANYWAY, my
second baby was a normal delivery and it was a piece of cake. Now, if
your OB feels like your baby is getting big and wants to induce, maybe
you could compromise in some way, and have her do a pitocin pessary, or
some other method for starting labor, and then see if you can take it
from there. I think second kids are just (a huge generalization, I know)
easier to deliver because, let's face it, there's more room on the road,
so to speak.
My advice to you would be to try and avoid a pitocin drip as long as you
can, because it really ups the intensity of labor which is a process
that is intense enough on its own. Having said all that, at the end of
the day it's all good, and two seconds after the baby's in your arms
you'll forget all about the dumb labor anyway, as you know already. Best
of luck, and congratulations in advance!!!!
My labor was induced a week early due to high blood pressure.
We could have waited, (it wasn't that high), but our doctor recommended
that being so close to the due date, that we go ahead and induce. I had
no problems. I went to bed, awoke the next morning feeling fine. When
I started to go into labor, I immediately went for an epidural. I ended
up sleeping through most of my labor. Not that the two are necessarily
But I never felt any side effects of the induction. Although, as you
said, I know many women have had problems. But having major tears from
a very large baby and painful labor doesn't sound much better. Good
luck with whichever decision you make!
Please don't get an induction unless your health or the health of your
baby is decidedly at risk. The baby may be large, but that is no reason
you can't give birth to it. I had large babies (no episiotomy/no
tearing on the LARGER one) and many women also birth large babies
without problems. Also, the ''guessing'' of size while baby is still in
utero is notoriously WRONG. My friend got induced because the ''baby was
large'' and she was anxious to not be pregnant anymore...baby was 6lbs
6oz....and clearly not ready to be born since she didn't progress and
ended up with a c-section. The baby needs to come when it is ready,
there is a whole hormonal cascade that needs to take place and sets up
birth to go as well as possible. When you interupt this process, it
sometimes compromises the process, in ways we don't even know yet.
Please consider that nature knows what it is doing.
**An Ob/Gyn nurse Practitioner who believes in the process
My induction was not really elective because my baby was two weeks past
his due date but I wanted to let you know about the pros and cons of one
method of induction called the Foley balloon. It's a water balloon
passed through the cervix that then rests in your uterus on the cervix
with two tubes hanging off of it and out of the vagina. One of the
tubes is taped to the inner thigh to maintain pressure on the cervix.
The other is a catheter to help drain the blood and amniotic fluid that
the insertion of the Foley balloon results in. I was told that when my
cervix was four centimeters dilated, the balloon would drop out of my
body and I was sent home.
Well, it really got things going. I thought I was hemorraging. My
mucous plug came out in two hours. And my water broke eight hours
later. But I wasn't having strong regular contractions, so I went to
the hospital the next day and they started pitocin.
I declined to see how dilated my cervix was because everyone said with
such certainty that the balloon would fall out when I was four
centimeters. The pitocin got me into what felt to me like active labor,
but the balloon still didn't drop out. I was feeling really discouraged
and I just had a hunch that the balloon wasn't helping me any more. So
I asked them to take it out. It turned out that I was four centimeters
dilated but that the balloon hadn't come out because it was stuck up
around the baby's head. Happily, my baby was born vaginally. I have
subsequently heard from a few other people that my experience with the
Foley balloon was not unusual. One woman was five centimeters dilated
and it didn't fall out. So if you choose to be induced and choose the
Foley balloon, don't take the assertion that it will drop out when
you're four centimeters dilated as gospel. Had I known that I would
have made different decisions as my labor progressed Lisa
You will no doubt get LOTS of varying responses to this one.
There is no ''one'' induction story, and I've heard of a lot of stalled
In my case, I induced my second child on his due date (at 40 weeks),
because I was 4 cm dilated, 90% effaced or something like that and so
very done with being pregnant. After the pitocin kicked in (that took
about 1 hour), he came out in 45 minutes. It was quick and painful, but
so worth it! I'd had a 13 hour labor with my first child, and this was
really quite easy (though
again: painful. No time for the planned epidural!).
That is my side. As for the baby, he was happy, healthy, and seemingly
none the worse for wear for being coaxed out a bit early (he's now 3)
Hi, I had my first child naturally - 9 lbs, 2 weeks late, no pain
medication and a fast and furious labor. I was worried with baby #2 that
if it came fast I wouldn't have time to get my older child properly
settled somewhere while I went to the hospital. My doctor encouraged
induction - but only after she saw that I was dilated and effaced
naturally. She was in charge of risk reduction at a highly regarded
Northeastern hospital. I was worried - effects of medication on baby,
making labor harder, just that it wasn't natural, etc. but it turned out
just fine and was actually quite calm and ''civilized'' compared to the
frenzy of #1. I got my daughter settled at school, drove to the
hospital, had the medication, chatted with my husband and parents, had
pain medication (too hard to not use it this time around) and had a
smooth, easy labor and healthy happy baby. One wasn't better than the
other and I had turned down the offer of induction with the first but it
did eliminate A LOT of the stress and uncertainty. The doctor was not
cavalier about offering it and respected whatever I decided but it
turned out to be a good choice for me the second time around.
In terms of having a large baby - I am small and my babies were huge - I
don't know - it worked out. I think you need to remember with all of
these choices is that you have to make a choice and ANY choice can work
out well or not so well and it doesn't necessarily mean that you made
the wrong choice. There is a fair amount of uncertainty involved and
just plain unknowns. You need to weigh the possibility of not being able
to get over the bridge with whatever feelings you have about induction.
I know that induction can mean a longer labor and some say a more
intense labor but that wasn't my case. I did get to experience my son's
birth (#2) in a way that I couldn't with my daughter.
Best wished for a good labor and a healthy baby.
Mom who has done it both ways
I had an induction resulting in a c-section at 42+ weeks. My body was
just not kicking into labor. The pain was intense, baby was sideways
just enough to cause back labor pain, and all the monitoring was
difficult to bear. They will have you on a monitor continuously, all
hooked up with wires and IV's. The pain was bad enough for me that I
opted for an epidural and sure enough couldn't really feel enough to
push, but baby was sideways and not moving anyway. He came out at nearly
I'm trying not to give you an opinion since everyone has a different set
of health concerns, just letting you know the labor was intense,
difficult, and left me with what seemed to be a case of post-traumatic
stress (anxiety when I thought about the labor, probably not too
uncommon, and gone now!). Good luck!
Lived to tell
I did not personally have an induction, but I *highly* recommend that
you read Hency Goer's book ''The Thinkng Woman's Guide to a Better
Birth'' before you agree.
It is an extremely well researched book. She admits upfront that she is
biased in favor of natural birth, but she is very ethical about giving
BOTH pros and cons of all procedures (including induction) so that
readers can decide for themselves.
Best of luck with your decision,
Hi: I had my daughter about 6 months ago and she is my first.
She was late, and they also thought she was very big (around 9 lbs).
After waiting a week past my due date, my doctor agreed to induce me.
It was not what we had hoped for or prepared for, but we tried to take
the whole experience in stride, and it turned out to have some side
benefits. Knowing when we were going to have our baby was great. We
prepared by going out to a great dinner, relaxing, spending some special
time together and then checking into the hospital around 8 PM. That's
The downside was being tethered to more machines than I would have
liked, and spending an extra night in the hospital. (I think it is the
norm that they like to admit you the night before and induce in the
morning). At 6 AM they broke my water and started pitocin. The
contractions were incredibly strong (like going from nothing to full out
labor in about 1 hour), but because we were already in the hospital and
very prepared, I only endured several hours of very active labor and
then got an epidural. Everything went more or less great, and our baby
was born around 3 PM. I'm not sure how ''typical'' the whole thing was,
but besides missing out on the scenario we had envisoned (laboring at
home as long as we could, doing all of our partner support exercises,
rushed drive to the hospital, etc) the whole experience was pretty
great. Our baby turned out not to be SO big, but after 41+ weeks of
labor, I was ready regardless! I also read a lot about being induced,
but my experience was a great one.
Happy we induced!
I was induced with both of my children. The first time because I was
over a week late, and the second time because my first labor was fast
and I lived over the bay bridge from my doctor. It worked great for me.
The positives were I could plan for the date, pack, arrange care for my
other child, know when I was leaving work, make sure my doctor was
available for the delivery, avoid traffic, etc. There were seriously no
negatives. Both labors were entirely different and wonderful
Best thing I've done! 1st baby I tried (with the ''support'' from a
doula) for ''natural,'' and I went through prodromal labor for 3 days,
was rejected twice from the hospital, and ultimately ended up being
induced, epidural-ed, etc. anyway. 3 days later I had a 9 lb baby and
incontinence that lasted almost a year.
2nd time, I had an elective induction a week early, and an elective
epidural early in the labor process. I had my husband and good friend
in the hospital with me, where we had fragrant flowers, a picnic (well
they got to eat it!), we listened to incredible music... I call it my
spa birth. Even the nurses and docs were impressed and relaxed. I
checked in early in the am, and had a beautiful 7lb 14oz baby boy around
And I worried about nothing because the childcare for my older daughter
had been PLANNED, my mom was able to get there from the East Coast and
have my daughter get used to her, it all went great. This was important
to us because we have no family nearby.
The only ''Con,'' is the same con you have regardless of your birth
plan: ''plans'' don't always work perfectly. The hospital was full the
day I was scheduled, so I had to wait until the next morning. Not a big
And what the docs will have to tell you is that there is still a chance
that the induction might not work... I suppose you could still go
through a long labor, need more interventions or have a c-section -
really, like in any birth experience. But what are the odds??
I had a terrible experience with induction and would not recommend it
unless it is medically necessary. When my baby hit the 40-week mark, the
doctors started talking induction, despite the fact that both my husband
and I were 3 weeks late when we were born. We resisted the induction &
got them to postpone it a few days, but they convinced me it was the
right thing to do -- that the hospital didn't let anyone go past 2 weeks
anymore. At 10 days, they started the process. My body didn't respond to
the pitocin or the misoprostal (sp?) and they had to continually ramp up
the doses -- for 3 days! By the end, the contractions were quite
painful, and I got an epidural. However, I never dilated so after 3
horrible days I had a c-section. There was never any medical reason to
be induced -- my baby was healthy and the amniotic fluids were fine. I
ended up with about the most un-natural birth I could have asked for. My
advice would be to run for the hills, unless of course there is some
sort of danger to you or your baby. Call my cynical, but I believe
hospitals & doctors now push inductions for their convenience Corinna
I don't have experience with this, but the SF Chronicle had an article
yesterday about how birthing babies early is becoming a serious public
health problem because this is dangerous for the baby. The article can
be found here. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/21/MNG52IVM6O1.DTL&type=health
I am of the opinion that you should wait until at least 40 weeks Anon
Well, I'm sitting here with my second child, born Saturday afternoon
(it's Monday morning now) after an induced labor, and I couldn't have
been happier with the procedure. The big con, from my point of view:
there ain't nothing natural-feeling about it. If it's important to you
to experience the process of labor unfolding naturally, and to be
intimate with what your particular body wants to do with it, then you
might be more disappointed by the whole thing than I was. If you have
the labor induced, everything procedes by dosage and your body just gets
marched along at the pace set by that, but I had been in this horrible
'pre-labor' for two days, with no end in sight. This meant (in my case)
continuous mild cramping, continuous moderate-to-severe backpain, and
unremitting, intense nausea. By the time we freaked ourselves into
thinking that we hadn't felt the baby moving for three hours and went
into Kaiser to get me re-hydrated via i.v., I hadn't been able to eat or
sleep for two days, or keep fluids down for 8 hours, and the idea of
having this state of affairs continue for 5 more days until my actual
due date arrived just made me want to die. So we induced. Hurrah! Six
hours later, new baby! They started with 4 drops/ minute, then went
gradually up from there, and when the contractions were more than I
wanted to handle I asked for the epidural. No episiotomy, no tearing,
healthy baby, healthy mom. So, I guess I'm saying that no matter what
the online concensus is about induction, ultimately you have to judge by
what's going on with you and your body when it's decision-making-time.
Labor with my first-born went great without it, with my second it just
didn't. I should say I *did* have a midwife in charge of the event
(thank you, Kaiser Walnut Creek), which probably helped to mediate the
mechanical/chemical feel of the procedure. Good luck!
Hello, I wanted to respond to your post because I chose to induce. We
did it 2 weeks prior to my due date (for personal family reasons) and it
turned out to be a very positive experience. We went to the hospital and
checked in around 7am, and they induced at around 8:30am. I had an
epideral about half an hour later (the contractions come on hard and
fast, just a warning). I had a relaxing, calm day with my husband, mom
and sister. I had my baby at around 5pm that day. I know this isn't
everyone's choice but I would do it again if the circumstances seemed
For example, this time when I deliver we will have a toddler and live 2
to 3 hours away from the closest family member. I would rather schedule
the delivery and have everything arranged and calm for our daughter.
Again, just a personal preference. I think some people are really
focused on everything happening ''naturally'' but to me the point is
having a positive delivery experience, having a healthy baby, and
helping my toddler through a tramatic time. It was very positive for us.
Hi there, just wanted to let you know that my first was also big (8lbs,
15oz) and my second a little bigger (9lbs, 3oz). My OB said that since
delivering the first went fine (long labor but relatively short pushing
and no complications), there should be no worries the 2nd time around.
And indeed, there weren't -- super fast labor, about 5 minutes of
pushing, and out he popped! So you might want to consider what your
actual risk factors are. Size of baby by itself is not necessarily a
cause for concern unless you already had a problem the first time, e.g.,
a shoulder that got stuck, etc. Some women can deliver big babies just
fine. BTW, I'm relatively small framed at 5'5'' and 125lbs so you also
can't go by mom's appearance. Best of luck and have fun squeezing all
We grow 'em big
I was really against induction with my first child, had my doula ready
and was supported in this decision by friends and family. I was doing
non-stress tests every other day, felt fine and I went 15 days past my
due date still very opposed to induction as I wanted to try for a
natural birth. What happened was that the placenta failed, and after 12
hours of labor, the baby almost died and we had a horrible emergency
C-section and neither my husband or myself even witnessed the birth of
our son, let alone were able to hold him for many days as he was on a
ventilator in the NICU. I realize my experience is pretty harsh, but in
hindsight, I wish that I had gone for an induction and hadn't waited. At
least that would have given me a chance to be awake and possibly with my
spouse for the birth of our son. Three women in my family have had
successful vaginal births after being induced. I know that it is not
ideal, but at least you will be making your choice rather than waiting
and waiting and then stalling in labor with a large baby and having no
choice but go under the knife. This is a really tough decision, my heart
is with you and your husband all my best to you
I would recommend against induction unless for a very compelling reason,
which estimated birth weight is not. Large babies can be born
vaginally. In my experience as a doula, early inductions are frequently
unpleasant, long, include lots of interventions and often end with
C-sections. If your body is not ready for labor, it takes a lot of
artificial coaxing to get it there. You are potentially looking at a
couple days of pitocin (which will be almost unbearable without an
epidural, so not much chance for a natural labor if that had been a
desire for you). Extended artificial labor could stress the baby. I've
seen a number of inductions that go on so long that either the doctor
decides it's not working (C-section) or the baby goes into distress
It is difficult to accurately estimate the size of your baby, and
whether your delivery of a larger baby will be difficult.
If you don't have gestational diabetes, the baby should be growing at a
normal rate, and your body should be able to handle it. Also, second
deliveries are SO much easier than the first, I'd let nature take it's
course. Be patient, and you are probably looking at a fast labor. Try
to induce, and you could drag it out for days, stuck in bed, with IVs
and monitors, away from your family. Not pretty unless it's
*really* medically necessary.
If you are worried about making it to the hospital on time, be sure to
leave as soon as you recognize labor as ''real'', don't hang around at
home, cause 2nd times do go pretty fast. If you are really worried,
move to a hotel or friend's house near the hospital when your due date
Hope that helps you make a decision, good luck!
I think you really need to ask yourself if you will be disappointed if
you make a decision that you regret later.
Personally, I would never want to be induced. From what I understand,
the most brain development occurs in the last few weeks (days even) of
justation- Babies who are induced are not ready yet. Why is your doctor
concerned about the baby's size?? Big babies are born all the time.
Look into yourself and try to figure out what you want to do, don't let
other people make your decisions for you good luck
I had 2 births & both were by induction. Both of my babies were 2 weeks
overdue therefore my doctor suggested that I get induced. With the first
induction I was truly scared because I didn't know what to expect, but
then again I think if the baby was to come naturally that I wouldn't
know what to except either. But everything turned out just fine. I heard
from several people that induction labor pains are a lot worst than the
natural contractions. But I had a wonderful doctor, so as soon as she
started the induction she made sure that I was able to get an epidral
right away. Needless to say, I didn't feel any pain. When I got pregnant
again, I was then again worried about having contractions & a natural
birth, but my little one once again didn't want to come out. I was
induced again, but felt a lot better about it since I already been
through it. One good thing I can say about induction for me is that
everything happened fast. I beleive a lot faster than if I was to have a
natural delivery. For each induction I was induced around 11am & 7pm
that evening I was pushing. My babies were okay & very alert. The only
con I have is that I have never experience having a natural birth,
meaning not knowing about water breakage or feeling the pains of
contractions. So you will be just fine, just suggest to your doctor that
you will like some meds because like I said I was told that induction
contractions are a lot stronger. If you have any other questions feel
free to contact me
You may want to read the Induction Fact Sheet put together by the
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services:
I feel compelled to write, because a lot of the responses to the
original question were stories of people's personal experiences,
positive and negative, and most were inductions that occurred POST-term.
In my mind, it's very different to be induced because you're past your
due date versus because someone thinks your baby is too large to be
delivered. As some posters mentioned, estimating a baby's size (not to
mention a woman's ability to deliver the baby) involves a lot of
guesswork. In fact, they say that of the three ways to measure -
ultrasound, external belly size and the preganant woman's intuition -
the pregnant woman's guess tends to be the most accurate!
I'm not arguing for or against, but I think it's a very serious decision
to trigger labor before one's due date, especially since due dates
themselves are so variable. You don't really know if your body or your
baby are ready. So think hard about where your greatest anxiety lies -
and get a second opinion if that will help you make your decision!
There's certainly no harm in that.
In any case, good luck. I can certainly empathize with the doubt and
fear you must be feeling. Your story reminds me, sadly, of how much
stress, pressure, and anxiety I faced with my first daughter's birth
(born nearly three weeks late, induced) -- just remember that labor and
delivery are a TINY part of the overall process and experience of
bringing a life into the world. Trust yourself in whatever choices you
I am stressed out as I have passed my due-date and my doc is
strongly suggesting induction.Has anyone tried any of the
natural induction techniques to get labor going? Such as castor
oil? Evening primrose oil? Accupressure? Cohosh/Herbs? If so,
how long after your due date did you do them? What happened?
Does anyone know of any reason NOT to use these methods, if
your due date has passed?
Desperately waiting for labor
When I was pregnant with my first, we tried everything you listed, some
more than once, plus others (intercourse every day for 3 weeks, castor
oil TWICE, acupuncture 3 times, membranes stripped 4 times, shot of
tequila, enema, etc. etc.). I was planning a home birth and desperately
wanted to avoid a hospital induction. I finally got induced at 42
weeks. I'm now one day past my due date for #2, and my take-home
message from last time is that babies come when they want to come, and
nothing you can do will work if they're not ready (but if you are, one
of those methods could push you over the edge). My advice: do nice
things for yourself every day and try to enjoy this time.
I haven't tried any induction methods as mine was born on time, but I
have heard it said that the only really good way is lots of sex. There
is a component of semen that ripens the cervix (hence how it got in
there in the first place). Nipple stimulation is supposedly good too.
Castor oil... I would try everything else before trying this.
Yeah, it usually gets the job done, but then you are sick and miserable
when your labor starts - not my idea of a good time.
Good luck, and congratulations!
I tried all the methods you mentioned to get labor rolling. Primrose
oil, acupuncture, the castor oil omelette laced with vodka. Our daughter
just wouldn't budge! Finally, at three weeks past the due date, the
fluid level started to drop and I was induced.
THREE DAYS LATER after horrible contractions and misery our darling girl
I finally had an epidural 5 hours before she was born. The epidural
relaxed me after the horror of contractions and she came out. My
suggestion is get induced then immediately get an epidural and enjoy
your new baby!
I attended Saraswathi's prenatal yoga class a day after I was due and
she did a chanting circle for impending laborers. My water broke several
hours later. Then when contractions did not start I practiced
accupressure points I learned from her birth class and had a relatively
rapid first labor. I used the same techniques on my sister when an
epidural stalled her labor and she dilated completely while napping in 1
We tried a BUNCH. Sex, nipple stimulation, tractor ride, special
pedicure at Azul off Solano, prego pizza at Skipolini's in Walnut Creek,
spicy hot chocolate, jumping jacks, spicy Thai food at Ruen Pair (my
scalp was sweating), maybe a few others... but still no baby.
In my case, I was allowed to schedule induction up to 2 weeks after my
due date. I selected a date slightly sooner and my water broke before
the date arrived. Once that happened, I progressed slowly on my own and
required the standard interventions I had hoped to avoid (namely
Pitocin)... so that would be my only caution.
My water broke on my due date and I didn't have any contractions.
My midwife, Jeri Zukoski, had me go to sleep early (to get lots of
rest) and make a castor oil omelette. It worked perfectly.
Had contractions in a couple of hours and was able to have a natural
birth. And the protein in the omelette was very nourishing and filling!
A friend recently passed her due date by about a week and her OB told
her to take the castor oil straight. What I thought was weird was that
she told her to do it in the evening. So my friend didn't get any sleep
and had to wake up her husband at 1:00am to go to the hospital. Had I
known she was going to do this, I would have suggested that she ask her
OB if she can do it first thing in the morning.
I've also heard about some lovin' with your partner, long walks, going
to the beach (something about the waves) and spicy foods.
Before trying any of this, please talk to your midwife or doctor about
Have you tried hiking steep inclines (not too steep) and acupuncture?
Just a thought.
hi, i didn't see the original post, but wanted to chime in anyhow in
case it's still helpful.... my sister had the experience of being told
by an nurse at kaiser ( i think) that the way to do the nipple
stimulation to induce is to really pull hard on the nipples for five
minutes on, five minutes off, five on, five off etc (i think she took
some breaks once in a while too) and that seemed to have the effect on
my sister of pitocin (well, maybe not quite that strong, but strong).
she was surprised at how vigorously and consistently it needed to be
done to work.
Can anyone suggest a specific acupuncturist to help start my
labor? I'm 40 weeks pregnant and would like to avoid a hospital
induction. I looked at the past advice and it was a little
outdated and vague.
Try Leslie Oldershaw, who specializes in fertility treatments and
other reproductive issues. I love her office; it is the
cleanest, most soothing medical space that I have ever been in.
Leslie is smart, funny and truly caring, and her assistants are
wonderfully competent and warm. Leslie's number is 510-595-1175.
She's on Grand Ave. near the Piedmont border.
I would highly recommend Marti Lee Kennedy for this. I know that
she is in the older BPN archives, but she is still one of the
best for women's health. I was 14 days over my due date, and my
scheduled induction was in just 2 days. She immediately followed
up, got me into her office within 6 hours, and called to check
on me for the next few days. I went into labor less than 24
hours after our session. Plus, it was highly relaxing in a time
when stress is coming at you from every direction as folks keep
pestering you with ''Haven't you had that baby yet?'' Her office
is at 2615 Ashby (just west of College Ave.) phone number 510-
843-5000. Tell her hi from Lou and Cole!
I am not sure if you will have already delivered by the time
this is posted, but if you are still pregnant and in need of an
accupuncturist, I highly recommend Maureen Raytis. She is in
Oakland and specializes in women's health and infertility. I am
a patient of hers and she has helped me greatly. She is gentle
and smart and will not insist that you abandon all western
medicine to treat with her.
Her number is: 510 501 6960
My wife received great care throughout her pregnancy from Maria
Yung, an acupuncturist at East Bay Pain Care in Oakland. She
originally went in for low back pain from pregnancy, but
continued after the back pain was gone because her health
improved so much and she felt so much better overall.
With regular acupuncture and herbs prescribed by Dr. Yung, this
pregnancy was completely different from the first time - so
much smoother and less painful for her. We recommend Dr.Yung
to any woman going through difficulties with pregnancy and
Her contact info is:
Maria Yung, L.Ac.
Hope this helps!
Hey there, my due date is July 19 and I'm looking for ways to
get things started naturally in case it comes and goes
uneventfully. You know, folk remedies or stories passed among
pregnant women about food or other activites to get things
going. I already know about the Prego Pizza (yuck!!) and about
having sex, but what else is out there? Thanks for the ideas!
A friend swears by taking a sip of castor oil -- started two
labors for her!!
My child was late and I had already tried sex, walking,
scrubbing the floor, ''prego pizza,'' and worst of all, eggs
scrambled with castor oil! YUCK 2oz of oil mixed with 2
eggs. My doula had me do this two days in a row. The
memory is almost making me throw up now! Nothing
worked. By the tenth day, my OB was very concerned, and
we decided to go with induction. My sweet daughter was
born two days later.
Been there, done that
Pineapple! Eat tons of pineapple.
this isn't a folk remedy- its chinese medicine. when the due
date of my healthy pregnancy came & went, i visited the
Shen Clinic in north berkeley. While he doesn't recommend
this unless you're baby is head down and ready-to-go, i
received over the counter herbs in a powder form (~$12).
They have a cumulative effect i was told. i took 3 or 4
''doses'' before i went into labor! I asked and was told there
are no negative effects, they will not distress the baby. I had
an amazing 9 hour labor without medication. While i hope i
don't have to bring labor on again, i would definitely
recommend this to anyone seeking to get things moving.
Walk, walk, walk! Walking is the best thing you can do right now. Not
only does it get things moving in your body, it gets you more in shape
for your upcoming labor.
I would be very cautious about folk remedies for starting labor.
For my second child I had a midwife and she had me on a whole
regimen of herbs during the last two weeks of my pregnancy. A
few days before the two-weeks-after-due-date window was up, I
took some herbs in tincture and the old standby of castor oil.
It worked and my baby was born later that night. But I have to
say that I tried castor oil three weeks earlier in the pregnancy
(at my midwife's advice to induce for a mysterious amniotic
fluid leak) and all I got was stronger contractions, that
tapered off, and vicious diarrhea.
So that experience made me realize that for all the ways to
start a labor, it won't get going until everything -the
effacement, the baby, etc. is ready. But through all this I had
the guidance of my midwife. I urge you NOT to try just anything
with the slew of advice you will invariably receive. I assume
you have an ob/gyn or you wouldn't be posting. My advice would
be to seek out a naturopathic doctor or herbalist, homeopath,
acupuncturist, or doula. You can find recommendations for any of
these on the Parents Network. At the very least ask the people
at Lhasa Karnak (sell herbs etc at two locations in Berkeley-
Shattuck and Telegraph both near Body Time stores).
Natural and herbal and folk is all well and good, but it doesn't
automatically mean safe. Please seek professional guidance. I
know it is hard when the due date has come and gone (both my
babies were late) or when you face an automatic induction via
pitocin. Be well and don't underestimate the power of sex, sperm
contains prostaglandin that can help thin the cervix.
The castor oil omelette works like a charm! A midwife
recommended to me that I fry some eggs in a certain number of
ounces of castor oil (I think 4?) and make an omelette out of
it. It is somewhat greasy but no more so than most restaurants,
and within hours labor started, and I gave birth about 3 hours
later completely naturally! I was expecting side effects but
Gave birth on my due date
Hi, try a massage with a massage therapist who can do prenatal
massage and, in particular, will work on your acupressure points
for uterine stimulation. I had great luck during my last two
pregnancies with Jennifer Shelton in Alameda 522-9317. Of
course, there's also castor oil, but that can be pretty rough
and you probably shouldn't do it without your midwife's
oversight. Good luck!
Hi. I'm sure you know this already but it's possible (and
likely) that your due date will come and go. You could carry
for a total of 42 weeks before you go into labor. And it is
best to let nature takes its course. That said, I will tell you
what worked for me. My water broke but I wasn't having
contractions. After 12 hours of waiting, my midwife recommended
a castor oil milkshake (2 oz. castor oil, vanilla ice cream and
OJ). Sounds gross, I know, but the ice cream emulsifies the
oil. It tasted like a creamsicle. Anyway, I had to have two of
these about 4 hours apart before my contractions began. But
when they finally started, they were 2 minutes apart. I have to
caution you though. Before castor oil works as a uterine
contractor, it cleans out your intestines. And I mean, CLEAN.
If you think you've had diarrhea, think again. WHOA. My
intestines rumbled for days afterwards, which was unpleasant, to
say the least.
Good luck and I hope you have a short labor!
My sister was overdue by a week and a half. What did she do?
She ate the magic omlette. What does it consist of? Castor
oil, eggs, etc. It is nasty as all get out but she had the
baby the same day after eating the castor oil egg dish that
morning. Got to the hospital at 342 and she had the baby at
400, yes, within 20min. Be careful! Don't know the exact
mixture but the deal is the castor oil about 3 tablespoons and
the egg to help slow down the side affects.
Hope this helps.
I know of two women who kick-started their labors with a castor
oil milkshake. They said it was pretty gross-tasting, but
obviously it did the trick.
I was determined to avoid induction and having heard that castor
oil is both potentially bad and disgusting, and having walked
until my feet ached, I went to my accupuncturist. Two
treatments four hours apart and the late baby rocketed out. My
OB recommended it but was shocked b/c she had just checked my
cervix and it was doing nothing and 12 hours later I had the
baby. The accupuncture definitely got things going--FAST!
After my first child was two weeks early my NP was positive my
second would be. Imagine my surprise when on my due date I was
no where near delivering!
I went to Pauline Wong--an accupuncturist with Ashby
Complementary Medicine near ABMC. She used accupuncture (a
heavier ''dose'' with vibrations) and I was contracting heavily
that afternoon/evening. Two days later our baby was born! PS I
tried the castor oil--I may be the only person on the planet who
it didn't work for. I had massive cramping but no bowel
movements or baby!
I hear castor oil does the trick, though I've never tried it.
Has anyone tried any of the natural induction techniques to
get labor going? Such as castor oil? Evening primrose oil?
Sex? Liquorice? If so, how long after your due date did you
do them? What happened? Does anyone know of any
reason NOT to use these methods, if your due date has
I was 10 days late with my first baby (15 years ago) and my
midwife suggested castor oil, especially since I was 35 and
likely to get a lot of pressure to be induced with pitocin at 2
weeks. I took it, with some struggle--it really does taste awful,
and started labor maybe a few hours later.
The main negative thing I experienced was a kind of chaotic labor
in the first few hours. I felt as though I had one set of
contractions happening as I dilated, and another set as the
castor oil worked its way through my digestive system, and
sometimes they worked fine together and sometimes they were on
different rhythms. All in all, labor went smoothly, judged
against the large spectrum of possibility anyway--it stopped for
a few hours at one point and then really got going after a 4 to 6
hour break. After that, I dilated for maybe 4 more hours at home,
went to the hospital and had 4 to 5 hours of steadily
intensifying contractions, an hour of really intense transition,
an hour of pushing, and out he came. Felt like a long time to me,
but it was considered a short labor, and by the end, the castor
oil was long gone and out of my mind.
Hi there- to answer yo! ur question, yes there are a few different
things you can try to naturally start labor. My other question
for you is: is your doc pushing you for an induction and thats
why you are looking for natural methods? You can start using the
natural stuff once you are 40 weeks pregnant and always after
discussing them with your doctor and letting them know you are
trying these things.
First is sex- what got baby in there is what can get them
out... there is prostaglandins in a man's semen and if you can
get comfy enough during the act to actually orgasm, 'the sperm
treatment' as I liked to call it will hopefully stimulate your
cervix while your big 'O' will get the uterus to contract. If
your baby is ready and your body is ready to labor, it will
hopefully start mild contractions for you.
another thing is nipple stimulation. roll nipples for 2 min,
rest for 3 then roll for 2 rest for 3min, for a total of 20 min.
Then wait and see what happens. Again, it will
only work if your
body is ready to labor.
Castor oil is another option, but trust me it is totally
disgusting and didn't do a darn thing for me. The idea behind
drinking it is that it will stimulate your bowels (diarhea) and
maybe by doing that it will stimulate your uterus to contract.
You can also take a little bit of the oil and rub on your
stomach which will absorb through the skin, but dont do both at
the same time becasue you can overstimulate and you DONT WANT
So please please discuss this with your doc before trying and
feel free to contact me if you want some info about medical
induction risks etc. I feel strongly against induction unless
there is good reason and there are a lot of reasons why it could
be bad for you or end up with a c-section.
Shaana Keller, Doula
When I was one week over-due with my second child, I went to see
the acupuncturist Martie Kennedy (on Ashby, across the street
from Alta Bates.) She did an hour-long treatment starting at
3:00 in the afternoon, my water broke at 1:00 am in the morning,
I was in active labor by 7:00 am, and the baby was born before
noon. Bearing in mind that the odds of going into labor at any
point when you're overdue are very high, my perception is that
the acupuncture treatment was just enough of a nudge to get my
labor going. I've talked to many other women who's labor came on
shortly after acupuncture, and there aren't any side effects at
all or any risk to the baby.
You've already gotten some good advice. I had my son at 41
weeks 6 days, and was pretty determined to avoid induction. (I
really wanted a drug-free birth, and all indications were that
my baby was healthy.) Here's what I did:
*Had sex at least once a day.
* Tried to walk for at least 15 minutes every day. (I was
walking the 3 miles around Lake Merrit up until my due date,
when it got to be too much)
* Nipple stimulation. (I don't remember how long I'd do it,
but I know I'd do it a few times a day.)
*Evening Primrose Oil. I got some caplets from a health food
store. EPO has natural prostiglandins in it. I think I used a
caplet as a suppository a couple of times a day.
*I ate a lot of spicy food.
When I did finally go into labor, it was pretty fast and
uncomplicated: I started having light contractions around 6
PM, my water broke at 11PM, and my son was born at 4 AM.
My only other piece of advice is to try to enjoy this time
before your baby is born.
I'll be 40 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and at my appt today my dr said I am still
only dilated 1 cm and started talking about scheduling an induced labor
sometime in the next 2 weeks. Has anyone had induction? I've heard it's
incredibly painful, plus I'm disappointed about the idea of not being able to
labor at home at all. For folks who were induced - were you forced to lay in
bed the whole time for the fetal monitoring, or could you move around? Did
you use any pain relief like an epidural? How long was your labor? Why did your
dr advise you to induce? We have another appt on Monday, where they will do
some tests to see how the baby is doing, but of course these are all questions I
thought of AFTER I left my dr's office today (I was pretty shaken up with the
idea of having to be induced).
Any info that could possibly ease my mind or at least give me a better idea of
what might happen would be greatly appreciated. I go to Dr Foley at Berkeley
Orinda Women's Health, and I'm having my baby at Alta Bates.
First Time Mommy - Freaking Out
I too was induced for my first child (10 days overdue) and went
through the very same angst you seem to be experiencing when I
was scheduled. I assure you, however, that it was much, much
better than I could have hoped. In fact I would have induced my
second child if I had the option.
First off, when you're induced, you know for sure that won't be
leaving the hospital without a baby (many of my friends went in
only to be told to return when they were more dilated, a very
frustrating experience). With a scheduled birth, you also have
a last bit of time to enjoy your pre-child lives a bit, go out
to a last dinner, make sure the refrigerator is stocked and the
fish are fed and so on. You can also have nice breakfast before
you go in, which is important since you might not eat for awhile
once you get started laboring. We found it also convenient for
our friends and families who were planning on helping us out
afterwards. They knew when to be available.
Depending on your specific situation, there shouldn't be any
reason you won't have a ''normal'' labor, except it will be
entirely in the hospital and in an outfit in which you have no
say. Once you are induced, which primarily involves a pitocin IV
and maybe breaking your water, you can walk around, take a
shower, do whatever it is you need to do (as long as you don't
mind doing it with a your butt hanging out of a hospital gown
and a bunch of IVs and monitors hooked to you). You might have
the baby relatively quickly, or it may take a while; it depends
on the individual. My induced labor took about 8 hours, I think
probably just a bit less than what it would have taken had it
As far as the pain itself, either way you are going to have
contractions. Like you, I was fearful of the pain, but I
actually found my second delivery, a natural one, far more
painful because it happened so quickly (3 hours from contraction
one to daughter) and with such intensity.
I am a real weenie when it comes to pain and had no desire
whatsoever to experience a lot of it. I figured I'd have enough
pain healing after the child was born. The nice thing about
being in the hospital is that you have a more say about how you
handle your pain. If you aren't ready for the epidural but you
want some help, there are medications to take the edge off.
While I held out as long as I could, I finally took the nurse up
on the fentanyl (sp?), which helped me a lot (and our Apgar
scores were all 10s from the beginning). Once you get the
epidural, however, you'll need to lie down.
All this said, whether your child decides to appear on his/her
own or with help, I think you will find that your labor and
birth is special, that in the end, it doesn't really matter
where or how it takes place as long as the child arrives
safely. I wish you a healthy birth and a lovely lifetime with
your new bundle of joy. I'm sure everything will turn out just
Induced and Happy
My first baby was induced 3 weeks early, he had stoped growing
and had the umbilical cord around his neck that was the reason.
But it was fine, In my case I could not walk around after they
started the treatment, excepeted to go to the restron or for a
shower. I did not feel the pain to be any worst them when my
second baby was borne (normal birth). I had an epidural on both
birsthdays and asked for it when the pain was umberable for me
(I am not realy good in feeling pain).
From the time they started treatment until my baby was borne was
more or less 8 hours. I also had my kids at Alta Bates. My son
is now a health two and a half years old.
It is going to be fine.
It is standard medical practice to schedule an induction at 2
weeks post due date if the mother does not begin labor
naturally. It is considered unsafe to keep the baby in utero
longer than that period because the placenta ages and can cause
complications for the baby. It doesn't sound like your doc is
suggesting anything out of the realm of safe practices. I was
induced and had a bad experience but plenty of women are
induced and have no problems whatsoever. Good luck.
With my first child, I also went long, and so I decided
to ''help'' him along naturally (for many reasons, including my
dread fear of Pitocin). I used black cohosh and acupuncture,
and he came that afternoon. The labor was not too bad, and I
was able to do it without drugs.
The next time around, I had to be induced by Pitocin due to
liver problems (it basically stopped working). It was fine (as
in: I walked around, but hooked up to many monitors, and didn't
really hurt) until the Dr. broke my water (because the Pitocin
really wasn't doing anything on its own), then all hell broke
loose. They just couldn't drop the Pitocin dose fast enough for
me, and I ended up getting a shot of drug to help (managed to
avoid the epidural thing, but not sure I would in retrospect -
it was so much worse than the first time).
Your questions: while the contractions were mild, I could move
around (but still hooked up), but once they got more intense,
they wanted me in the room and lying down. First labor was 8
hours, second one was 4 hours of Pitocin, then 2 hours of
intense pain after they broke my water (really only 2 hours of
I'd be happy to talk with you further if you have any
questions. Good luck!
I went into Alta Bates 10 days after my due date for an
induction - I was 1 cm and maybe 50% effaced. They placed
Cervidil (goes behind the cervix) in the evening with the plan
to start the Pitocin (the IV medication) in the morning. The
Cervidil is supposed to ripen the cervix and make it more
likely to dilate with the Pitocin, and maybe dilate you to 2
cm. This was not the case for me. The Cervidil turned out to
be just the nudge my body needed and I went into labor about 45
My experience was quick - my baby was born 4 hours later with
no need for IV medication or epidural. I was in bed most of
the time, but this was my own choice - the contractions were
very strong (because I was dilating so quickly). Quicker
labors run in my family - my mom was induced with me (first
child) with Pitocin and I was out in 8 hours.
In preparation for the induction I had asked some questions.
At Alta Bates, you are able to get up out of bed even when
being induced with Pitocin (if you start with the Cervidil, you
do have to stay in bed for about 2 hours). But, do have to
come back periodically for them to monitor the baby. People do
say that Pitocin makes the contractions harder, but let's face
it, labor is no breeze either way. An epidural is not
necessary for an induced labor, plenty of women have delivered
without pain medication despite the induction.
My main advice is not to let the induction scare you. Be your
own advocate to otherwise have your labor the way you would
like. If walking around and avoiding pain medication are your
plan, these are still possible. And don't feel bad if you
decide to use pain medication - most women these days do, even
despite the resurgence of wanting a 'natural labor'. Best of
luck and just focus on the most important outcome - a happy,
In my opinion, there are plenty of things to freak out over
when it comes to pregnancy and parenthood, but induction
need not be one of them. There are probably as many
different stories about induction as there are about labor,
but here's mine (also at Alta Bates). With both kids, due
date came and went and then another week or 10 days
passed and doctor started talking induction--primarily
because baby wasn't getting any smaller and it was time to
get him/her out. Both times I was more dilated than you are,
but not experiencing contractions. Both times contractions
started around when they would have induced, but nothing
much happened so they proceeded with the induction.
Could have stayed home longer, but ''laboring at home''
takes on less luster when you realize your baby could come
quickly and you're miles and a very uncomfortable car ride
away from where you need to be when that happens. Both
times the labor speeded up and was more ''intense'' --
faster and harder-- than it probably would have been (but
then how do you judge these things or compare your labor
to anyone else's--I doubt that I would have thought a
non-induced labor was not intense!). The alternative,
however, was sitting around in semi-labor for days at a time,
which wasn't particularly attractive either--nor safe for the
baby. First time I was able to walk around as much as I
wanted, with occasional external monitoring. No external
efforts to speed labor (walking, nipple stimulation, breaking
of waters) helped, but the pitocin did and I was very grateful
for it. Second time they monitored internally and so I
couldn't move around, but that was due to baby's position,
not the use of the drugs. Second time the labor seemed
more manageable--less out of control--but that could have
been simply because second labors are generally easier
and I also knew more about what to expect. I do think that
dosage is important when they put you on pitocin: some
doctors ramp it up slowly to avoid giving more than is
needed, others want to get it over with (in my case, the
dosage in the ''easier'' labor was lighter, but again, it was
also my second). In either case, both babies were delivered
vaginally with absolutely no painkillers and the fact that I
was induced made little difference in the experience: hurts
like hell and then it's over. My view is that labor is a means
to an end and though I'm really glad I had the experience, it
was the end result that counted! Also, there are so many
other things to be anxious about, I'd relax about this one.
Most moms will tell you labor was the easy part!!
mother of two
There are so many scary stories out there about induced labor
that I wanted to share these 2 positive stories with everyone.
(1) With my first child, after I got past 40 weeks, I was freaked
about complications that result from later term babies and really
sick of being pregnant (back pain, peeing every 10 minutes, etc.)
so I asked my doctor if I was required to go a full 2 weeks
post-due date before induction. He said it was my choice. I
requested to be induced at 41 weeks. They applied prostaglandin
to my cervix and that jump started contractions. It was a 26-hour
labor and I was obliged to wear a fetal monitor because I said
yes to any and all drugs offered (narcotics and epidural).
So, as far as I know, you can refuse a fetal monitor if you don't
(2) With baby #2, they induced at 41 weeks by applying cytotec to
my cervix. I had a 2 hours labor because it was a second baby,
because cytotec is very powerful, and because I labored on a
rubber ball like the ones at the gym instead of in a hospital bed
(so was working with gravity). There were no drugs with that
labor (too short) but they asked me to wear a fetal monitor and I
reluctantly agreed. Near the end, the fetal monitor indicated
that the baby's heart rate was slowing down with every
contraction. Sure enough, when my little one came out, she
had a cord wrapped around her neck twice. The doctor snipped the
So fetal monitors are really uncomfortable but they do serve a
useful purpose to alert doctors when something is wrong.
Hope that helps.
I went to 42 weeks and had to be induced (also at Alta Bates).
They brought me in at 6pm, inserted cervidil to dilate my
cervix, and I went into labor at 2am. I handled the labor with
breathing techniques until the afternoon, at which time I got
some pain relief (fentinol). I was able to manage the labor
until about 6pm, when they gave me pitocin to speed up the
process (cervix wasn't dilating and I was going to need a c-
section). Once you get pitocin, the labor is much harder to
handle. I had an epidural at about 8pm, I think. Then you feel
nothing, unfortunately you must lie in bed and can't move
around. I finally gave birth (vaginally) at 1:17 am after 23
hours of labor.
I would say that although I didn't experience the labor in the
comfort of my own home, ultimately all you really want is a
healthy baby, and when you are in the middle of that process, it
is your focus. My friend, a nurse practioner, told me that to
have the best birth experience, just roll with the punches and
don't have any preconceived ideas about how it should be. That
was the best advice I got. And now I have a perfect, beautiful
and healthy 1 year old baby. The nurses at Alta Bates are great,
by the way, and they did absolutely everything to make it as
positive an experience as they could. My only other advice, if
you can afford a private room (about $300 bucks a night), it is
worth it. Your husband can stay in the room with you and you
have time to adjust.
Well, I had some similar occurances but different. I had a mild
case of pre eclampsia and I was put on bed rest for 2 and 1/2
months!! And told to lie on my left side and drink like 5
gallons of water a day!!! Tell that to a pregnant women, ''stay
in bed but drink tons of water''. LOL. :) I did it and I
avoided early labor.
However I still had some sympstoms and monthly then bimonthly
and once in the hospital I had to be monitered on a fetal
moniter. It was all very upsetting but I just kept on
crocheting her baby blanket and did get up for a few hours a day
and do something nice for myself to keep the chin up.
I was told I would be induced if I was even a day late due to
all this! Well, I just started talking to my baby, even almost
yelling! I demanded that she come out without it, and she began
her labor on her due date! Great I thought.
It turns out my labor lasted a total of three days and nights as
it kept starting then stopping. Finally my water broke and after
9 hours they put me on the drip patocin (sp?) with my
knowledge. They did not however tell me that they kept turning
up the amount I was receiving and my last three hours of labor
were really painful. I also had back labor and was unable to
turn onto my front or squat as the moniter went off!
I must say all this soured me for another go. When she was
born, had to have a epidural as well, heart rate went down, I
knew it was because she was just stresed out from the fast labor
but was so in my pain and mind I couldn't speak so they did it,
she was a 9 and a 9 an the apgar test/score. So the drugs did
not hurt her at all. Nor did they hurt me except for during
labor. But I must also say that the baby is now 13 and I
wouldn't trade her for the world!!!! I would do it all over
again in a heartbeat but with a few different agenda's.
One, have an advocate! My husband didn't know it was wrong or
that this was why my labor was so intense. He should have, arm
your husband with research in advance. Additionally, don't let
them keep turning it up unless they can convince you and your
husband who will be the rational one there that it is medically
necessary and why. And I would be prepared better. I would have
more comforts and demand they turn the noise of the moniter
off. I would understand that I needed more drugs. And I would
prepare myself with the knowledge that I wouldn't be able to
take care of the new little baby that first 12 hours so well so
I would have an advocate who did that for me. If the husband is
burnt out, have your family or best friend sit in your room with
the baby and you. This is of course if you don't want the baby
to go to the nursery. This probably must be worked out in
advance in writing to the hospital and doctors. They are very
security tight with newborns, thank god.
Most of all, try this: Eat three cans of spinach. This is a
natural stimulater of the fake potacin (sp?). Or mustard greens
or chinese greens. I did the day I thought I was in labor and
it kick started it right up, wish I would have kept on eating it.
Doctors these days find induced and ceasaran labor more
convient. However, there is a flip side. You don't want any
medical complications and the I believe the water starts to dry
up a bit after 2 weeks late. You could have daily ultrasounds
or something to see if baby and mommy are ok and until there is
signs that something is awry refuse? It is a sticky point and a
medical one. I urge you to research away on google the next few
I am NOT A DOCTOR OR NURSE. I am giving you my advice from my
experience and research only.
My second daughter was induced when she was 10 days overdue. My
OB felt strongly that late children needed to come out. I went
in to Alta Bates around 8 am and was put on a slow drip of
pitocin. It didn't take a long time to get a dose, so every hour
my husband and I walked around the neighborhood to get away from
the hospital. Then I would go back for more drugs and fetal
monitoring. I didn't feel any contractions until 5 PM and then
they came on very fast and very strong and my daughter was out
by 6 PM. I was overwhelmed by an urge to push but it didn't hurt
more than my first delivery. My daughter had mild distress when
she was born, but rebounded quickly.
I would have prefered not to have been induced, but it wasn't
awful. It's important to remember that the most important
outcome is a healthy baby.
My first child was three weeks early and a dream delivery save
for a nasty frontal tear. My second and third were both
inductions, one six days after my due date, the other the day
after. My first induced labor started around 6:30 AM and my son
was born at 3:17 PM, my second was started around 7AM and he was
born around 1:37 PM. During both induction experiences I was
able to get up and walk around the hospital (Alta Bates),
including going out to the rooftop garden, which is very pretty.
The IV cart you must drag with you everywhere is a little
cumbersome and they do come looking for you if you are gone too
long, but you basically have a great deal of freedom. I didn't
find that the labor with induction was ''worse'' but more a
feeling that I had skipped the early labor with which you ''ramp
up'' to the more intense labor closer to delivery. I guess it
would be a bit like taking pain medication for the early labor
and letting it wear off around transition. I didn't take any
pain meds during any of my boys' births, and I really feel like
the pain of labor is the pain of labor. One technique I really
liked and used a lot through all three is visualizing what the
labor was actually doing (ie the contractions are pushing the
baby down, and widening the opening in the pelvis, so I would
close my eyes and think of my body opening and pushing the baby
down). This worked equally well with the natural birth and the
induced. One BIG drawback with induction is that once you start
the induction you can't eat anything, so rather than sitting
around home snacking through early labor you're 12 hours with
only clear fluids. The second induction I got smart, ate a high
protein meal late the night before and actually ate a yogurt on
the way to the hospital. At least that way I had some stored
feul for the work ahead. Ask for whatever GREAT food the
hospital provides, or send out for something you're dying to
eat, you'll be starving as soon as you settle into your
elation/baby love. Oh, and if your insurance doesn't provide for
a private room I highly suggest paying the extra for the
difference...it is SOOOOO nice after birthing a baby in a
roomful of medical personnel to be all in your own space and
basically able to strip naked, take a shower and wander around
your own private room when they unstrap the IV!
I had an induction at 42 weeks minus 3 days with my first child.
I was required to have the monitor on at all times. Several times
I attempted to move postions but the monitor could not pick up
the heart tones and so I had to remain in an uncomfortable
position. I think most hospitals are like that, but as long as
the baby is showing toleration of the pitocin, the nurses are
usually pretty willing to allow a break every now and then, so
you can get in the shower for example. I'm a doula and have had
several clients go unmedicated with pitocin inductions. The key
is to take it S-L-O-W. The protocol for many hospitals is to
increase the rate of pitocin every 30 minutes (or 15 minutes)
until you get to a nice pattern of contractions every 3 minutes.
However, there's no saying you *have* to do that. You should be
able to ask that the staff increase the pitocin every hour, or 45
minutes or so. It can be hard to keep yourself in control if
someone else is doing the upping of the dosages -- both
physiologically and psychologically, if you know what I mean.
Another thing to keep in mind is that vaginal exams before labor
really don't tell you much of anything. They don't tell you if
you're going to go into labor tomorrow, the next day, or the next
week. The worst thing they do is increase your risk of infection
becuase with each vaginal exam you are introducing new bacteria
into your vagina. Infections and bacteria can weaken the amniotic
sac and can cause an early rupture of the bag.
A great book to read is Henci Goer's _The Thinking Woman's Guide
to a Better Birth_. It gives research backing up or refuting
certain claims by doctors.
At this point the best thing to do is to just allow your body and
your baby to follow its course. Discuss with your doctor what
your options are. What happens if you do not go into labor by 41
weeks? By 42 weeks? No doubt, pitocin induction is hard.
''Natural'' labor is hard, too, by the way! However, you're still
only 40 weeks! Most first-timers go overdue. There are lots of
other things you can do to spend the next few weeks: sex,
acupuncture, sex, acupressure, walking, sex, massage, walking,
chiropractic, sex, herbs, etc. As a last resort you can take
castor oil but that is DEFINITELY last resort LOL.
Best of luck to you! Hang in there, you will not be pregnant forever!
I do not mean to scare you, but my experience with induction
(pitocin) was that it was VERY painful. The anethesiologist was
unavailable when I wanted an epidural and I sobbed and screamed
for hours before getting any relief. So my advice is this: be
sure (unless you have prepared for a natural childbirth) that
the anethesiologist will be available BEFORE you let them give
you pitocin. Make your wishes known in no uncertain terms,
i.e., you may give me pitocin so long as I can also get an
epidural. That's my 2 cents. I honestly thought I could endure
the pain but it was far beyond what I'd imagined.
another induced mom
There are a lot of strong feelings out there about the subject
of labor and birthing, and sometimes those feelings take on a
moral component - that there is only one ''right'' way to do it.
I think you should do it in a way you feel most comfortable.
Induction does start things out as more ''medicalized'', makes
the labor go more quickly, and might increase your chances of
requesting an epidural (although not necessarily). If that does
not sound like the birth experience you want, than you should
discuss those concerns with your OB or midwife. (Of course, if
the baby goes past due and there isn't enough amniotic fluid or
some distress is detected, there will probably be a medical
decision that will (rightly) trump any previous thoughts on
what kind of birth experience you wanted.) Personally, after
doing it both ways, I see validity to both the natural method
and the induced/epidural method. I had beautiful, healthy
babies both ways, and so have no complaints whatsoever. But if
I were to have a 3rd (which I'm not!) I would have no problem
being induced and would definitely go for the epidural again.
Just keep your eye on the ultimate result - you are going to be
a mom no matter what birth method you choose! Best of luck and
Swimming against the tide in Berkeley
I recently gave birth to my second daughter at Alta Bates. Because my
first birthing experience was very quick (20 minutes of pushing), and
because I was already 3 centimeters dilated at 37 weeks, I was given
the option of being induced at 38 weeks. I opted to be induced so that I
wouldn't be caught off guard at home alone with my toddler, because I
knew my body would deliver that week anyways, and because I was so
incredably sleep deprived -averaging 2 -3 hours a sleep each night for
the last half of my pregnancy. My doctor also felt that I would have gone
into labor so quickly at home that I would not have been able to control
At Alta Bates I checked in at 8:00, had my water broken, and walked the
halls. I was still only 3 centimeters. At noon I was given potosin (sorry -
can't spell) and sent to walk the halls some more. At three o'clock I was
still only 3 centimeters, asked for an epidural, and at four the nurse
checked the fetal monitor and saw the babies head...I gave birth after
only 5 minutes of pushing.
The idea of hanging around the hospital, waiting to have a baby,
seemed crazy to me. I had thought I'd rather be at home, let things
happen naturally, and head to the hospital once my contractions were
close. But my husband and I actually enjoyed having a day to ourselves
to mentally prepare for how our life was about to change (and it was
nice to have a break from the toddler- walking the halls was easier than
chasing her around!).
If I decide to have a third child, and if my body is ''ripe'' early again, I will
strongly consider being induced. Most people I've talked to had a very
positive, fairly painless experience. I only know of one friend who was
induced at 42 weeks and found it painful. With her second pregnancy
she waited to go naturally and still had a very long and difficult time.
Maybe it just depends on your body. Who knows?
I know quite a few people who think the world of Dr. Foley.
I hope my rambling helps-
best of luck-
I sympathize with your situation and would encourage you to keep
induction in perspective. You need to do what is best for your
baby. My son was 10 days late and I had to go to the hospital
for tests--likely the same tests you're having on Monday. One
of them was off, and I was sent upstairs and admitted, and very,
very sad. You will probably have a stress test and an
ultrasound to see how much amniotic fluid you have left. They
need to make sure your placenta is holding up. If both tests
come out okay and you are feeling good, you should stick by your
guns and not be induced.
If you DO have to be induced, it's really important to be clear
about your desires at the outset. Tell the nurse your desire to
try and deliver without pain meds and ask them to try using the
lowest amount of pitocin and see what happens. This worked well
for me. Though the contractions were really strong--too strong
to walk around--my labor went fast enough that I made it without
an epidural. (It was intense, though, just ask my husband.)
Six hours later out popped my son and it was all worth it.
One thing my family doc recommended to start labor was
accupuncture. You might want to check that out to get things
going naturally. Good luck!
I was induced at 40 weeks, and wasn't even dilated a full cm -- supposedly
my amniotic fluid had gotten too low and we couldn't safely wait any
longer (though the tech and my doc disagreed on this, my doc insisted).
We weren't prepared for this complication (who is, I guess), in fact we
thought we'd go late since it was my first and had all sorts of activities
planned for the last week or two. So we were pretty surprised when we
had to go in and be induced, despite my efforts to get things started with
acupuncture and massage. I won't lie, it wasn't fun. Everyone is different
and I don't know how they'll treat you, of course, but I was strapped to
monitors and in bed the entire time (they let me go to the bathroom oh so
briefly) and couldn't walk which was so frustrating since I had heard so
much about walking to break the water and start labor, etc. At one point I
snuck out of bed with monitors still on and sat on an exercise ball for a
while just to have a break and try to keep active. They started and
increased the pitocin from Friday afternoon on into the night, wanted to
break the water Sat morning but we talked them into letting us go longer,
did that and still no appreciable progress, maxed out on pitocin all Sunday
and by that night we had to call it quits, my body was just not ready
despite the fluid level dropping and all the forced labor. Ironically, they let
me go so long because my daughter did great in utero and didn't have any
heartbeat distress, though labor could have been hindered by having the
monitors on to show that very thing. Ha!
What I try to take away from this less than desirable experience was that at
least I got to experience labor at all. And I really value knowing what
contractions feel like, honestly, glad to not have had an emergency
csection. I did not have any pain medication for the labor part, but of
course an epidural for the operation (a different topic, the AB docs were
absolutely great). Anyway, here's what HELPED me: my husband being
with me, of course, as well as our wonderful doula who massaged me and
supported me the entire time, music (bring lots of extra batteries since you
can't plug into the wall outlet), and inspiring pictures tacked up right
where I could see them -- all so comforting to have in the face of all the
technology at the hospital. I also loved not knowing the baby's gender
until they flew her by me after the section; in a strange way it was one of
the few things I had control over...the surprise. I snuck some food at first
since it was so many days (and they won't let you eat in the hospital
obviously), but by the third day didn't want to eat, though I also took
some gatorade to keep energy up. Some advice: I don't know if they are
still doing this, but if they ask you every hour to rate your pain on a scale
of one to ten, just refuse to do it (unless you want to of course). This
questioning was apparently a result of some lawsuit, but I found it
impossible to answer, and irritating besides, since I had not yet felt the
worst pain I would feel and had no way to create the 10 on the scale. So
just say no, if necessary. Similarly, during recovery, don't let people in your
room unless they absolutely have to be there. I could not get any sleep
during the three days I ''recovered''; after half-hourly assaults, we hung a
sign on the door and STILL were bothered by people just walking in (not
always nurses, people for the baby pictures and stuff). Could have done
without that part, especially at $250/night.
To sum up, It may sound trite, but at some point I did have to give away
my hopes for natural labor, vaginal birth etc. and give in to the process.
This was certainly helped by how well the baby did and turned out to be.
I'm sure you'll be fine, don't worry. Think about how great it's going to be
when you get to hold that baby in your arms and finally see its face!! So
soon now! Think about the little tiny feet, the big grey newborn eyes, that
fabulous smell they have. The wonderful crazy stuff is just about to
start...Congrats and good luck.
I was induced because my water broke but real contractions never
started. I was allowed to walk around with a little cart for the IV bag (only
had to lie down occasionally for fetal monitoring – which wasn’t
I did use a small amount of pain relieving drugs, and ended up have an
epidural – a blessed relief! Although after that you do have to lie down.
My baby was born pretty quickly after the epidural – and I could push
just fine even though I had heard it was sometimes harder to push after
I think the reason that inductions are thought of as unpleasant is that,
from the very beginning, the medication is adjusted so you have your
contractions 2 minutes or so apart (rather than starting at 8-10 minutes
apart and slowly building up). Even for a fairly short labor (mine was
about 9 hours), that gets exhausting.
But I got through it, and in retrospect I don’t think it was that big a deal. I
have heard more frightening tales from women who had entirely natural
labors – and of course women with natural labors who had an easier
time, too. I think it's a case of what happens, happens.
Remember, at the end of the ordeal, you'll have your beautiful
baby! Stay relaxed and just look forward to meeting your
precious one. I had an induced labor in May, also my first
child. I too was very upset when the doctor broke the news. I
went to Alta Bates for fetal monitoring 3 weeks before my due
date because things didn't feel right, and was induced that
nite. I was scared, but in the end, all was fine! They used
Cervadil and Pitosin (probably spelled wrong). I did have to
stay hooked up to the monitor and an IV, except for bathroom
trips. That meant no hot bath for contraction relief, and
spending most of the time on the bed. When you're pushing, have
them get out the push bar that fits onto the bed so you can be
up on your knees. You won't have to lie on your back like the
olden days! My contractions were Very intense, but I wouldn't
know if they hurt more than they do in any other labor. You may
have heard by now that first time labors are often longer?
Well, the iduction may spare you 10 or 12 hours of misery---I
labored for 8, with NO epidural. Alta Bates' staff is wonderful
and caring, and if you have a doula there with you, that will
help a lot. This won't be the labor/childbirth experience you
envisioned, but hey, isn't that something we're not able to
really plan? We just don't know how that baby is going to come
into the world. Good luck. You will do fine, and you'll love
Dear Freaking out first time mommy,
Relax! Being induced isn't the end of the world! I was induced
(my water broke at 41 weeks and then nothing, no contractions)
and happened to have a bad reaction to the Pitocin and a sadistic
nurse who didn't reduce the amount in the drip (I didn't know I
could ask her to - keep this in mind just in case!).
The problem with the Pitocin was that I went from no labor to
active labor in about 1/2 an hour. I'd sent my husband home since
it looked like a long road ahead and I wanted him to get sleep,
then after he left the nurse cranked up the dosage b/c I wasn't
progressing fast enough for her and BOOM! Hard contractions every
2 minutes, lasting a minute each. Yuck. It's not that it's that
different from 'normal' labor, it's just that I didn't get to
ease into it gradually. You're limited by the IV (the fetal
monitor was just an external belt) but you can move from side to
side and get up to visit the bathroom, probably walk around
(although I wasn't up for it)but I don't think you could shower
or do a water-birth. I was at Alta Bates, btw.
Needless to say, I requested an epidural as soon as I thought of
it and the misery was gone within seconds. It wasn't the
delivery I had envisioned, but I also didn't buy into all the
epidural-is-for-wimps-and-bad-moms stuff they were preaching in
the childbirth classes either. Also, the epidural really sped up
the dilating process since my body wasn't wasting energy fighting
against the pain. It had taken 10 hours to get to 3cm, and then
took 9 hours more(pain free!)to get from 3 to 10 cm. During this
time I was able to have lots of family in the room with me,
laughing, joking, telling stories, etc. and it is now one of my
By the way, I have a friend who opted to be induced for her
second child (same reasons as you) and was FINE, no bad reaction,
easy short birth. It just depends on your individual reaction to
the drug. I'm due in 4 weeks and would have no qualms about being
induced again since I know the epidural is there if things get
Good luck, you can do it!
-Ready to do it again
My first thought on reading your post is that you shouldn''t
worry too much yet. Most babies are late (whatever that
means--they come when they are ready). After 2 uninduced
labors, my third labor was induced because my waters had
broken and labor had not really set in after 12 hours.
We did it to avoid antibiotics which are given automatically
after 18 hours. Anyway, it was very intense and very fast. I
think in my case labor was happening on its own, just not
very strongly and the pitocin just intensified it. I didn't use an
epidural, but I had already had 2 unmedicated labors so I
knew how to keep on top of this induced labor. I was able to
get up and move around at first, but once the labor kicked in
full force I didn't even want to get up! Hope this helps and
good luck with your labor and delivery, however it happens.
I had my labor induced for my second child at Alta Bates (41 1/2
wks). I received the IV at around 8am and I had my baby at
1:04pm. You are not forced to lay down all the time though you
will have an IV and monitor on. You will have the option of pain
relief. I chose not to have any and my contractions became so
strong at the end I wish I would have, but it was to late. I
would never want to be induced again without pain medicine. I
had my first child on time,no medicine, and that was alot
easier. You have to completely judge for yourself if you can
handle the pain. No matter what you have a beatiful child to
look forward to. Take care.
My labor was induced 25 years ago and I dont recommend it
unless it is medically necessary. The labor was my second and
it was done for the convience of the doctor. Everything that
happened in my first labor (that was 6 hours) happened in a
compressed 2 hours. It was fast, intense and the baby was in
distress when she was born. I think most doctors will wait till
41 1/2 weeks and you are starting to dialate....so what's the
There is a good book, Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn The
Complete Guide by Simkin, Whalley, Keppler that has suggestions
and natural ways to help induce labor..non-medical and non-
drug..such as walking, acupressure, orgasm, and other ideas.
It is best to read it because there too many details to list
here. All the best.
I completely empathize with you. I was in your situation just 6
mos. ago. Like you, it never crossed my mind that I might be
induced until my due date came and went. I tried everything I
had ever heard of to get that baby moving, but no luck. Finally
I let the Dr. induce me 10 days after my due date because I
couldn't stand the anticipation and crushing disappointment
every contraction-less evening. Still, I was petrified and
upset that I wouldn't get to experience the excitement of early
labor, my water breaking, etc.
Now for the good news. Despite a remarkably unromantic arrival
at the hospital, much of my labor progressed the way I had
hoped. Yes, the Pitocin was painful. But once it kicked in, it
really did the job. My baby was delivered 4.5 hours after they
started the Pitocin drip. As a matter of fact, I went from 5 to
10 cm. in 20 minutes! So despite being strapped down and
wiggling around on the table I was able to have a natural
childbirth -- no epidural or other painkillers. Not being able
to walk around is the worst part of it. A useful trick is to
tell the nurse that you need to use the restroom. Then he/she
will unstrap you and hopefully the vertical time will speed
Good luck & try not to let the induction get you down. Remember
that in the end, you will have a beautiful baby to cherish!
Hi, my doctor is also Foley and I was induced three weeks ago. I
was also very shaken up, especially given the fact that it was
an emergency induction and I had roughly two hours to ''prepare''
for it. I would be happy to have a conversation about it if you
think it would be helpful. You can give me call if you want.
I was also really scared about being induced, until it happened
and it was fine! Please try not to worry too much, it will be
ok. I had my baby earlier this year at Alta Bates. I had to be
induced because my water broke, but then I didn't go into labor
on my own. Here's how it worked for me: While I was waiting to
be induced (to see if my labor started naturally) I was in a
delivery room, with a fetal monitor strapped on my belly. I
could take the fetal montior off to go to the bathroom or walk
around a bit. Then, the induction was started by a nurse. The
nurse I had seemed to be very skilled. She put an IV in my arm,
and then started me on the lowest possible dose of pitocin. (Ask
for a low dose, if they don't tell you that's what they are
doing). At first I felt nothing, then within about an hour, my
contractions started. My whole labor and delivery lasted 14
hours, from the time the pitocin was started until I had my
sweet baby girl. During the first few hours, before the
contractions got strong, I took walks around in the hallways,
and in the garden in the maternity ward. I had to bring the pole
with the IV bag with me, but I didn't have to remain attached to
the fetal monitor, I just put it back on when I got back to the
room. Later, when I was laboring hard, I was still able to stand
up, take a shower, sit on the toilet, or do whatever I needed to
do to handle the contractions. The nurses continued to monitor
the pitocin dosage and turn it up or down as needed, to keep my
contractions from becoming too strong. In the last couple of
hours, I think they turned the pitocin off altogether, because
my contractions were happening without any help needed. My
overall impression was that my labor was neither harder nor more
painful than the typical labor of someone who is not induced. I
did it without an epidural. I did have some pain medication in
my IV just before, and during, transition. I had a doula there
to help me, which was extremely reassuring. Overall, I have to
say that even though it was really hard, I loved the process of
giving birth, (as well as the outcome,of course) and the
induction really didn't interfere much with my experience. Good
To answer your questions about being induced, in case that
is what will need to happen in your case: Yes, I was
induced for my daughter's birth. No, I didn't want it either,
but I was trying to have a VBAC, am quite small, and to have
higher chances of a succesful VBAC my doctor didn't want
me to go more than about 10 days over my due date. I was
with the same medical group as you. I went in to the
hospital early in the morning, I believe about 7:30 am, and
the baby was born at 7:40 pm. They did a ''slow'' induction
(low levels of medicine) as I had had a C-section before. I
tried to have a natural birth, had a doula present and all, and
worked with the contractions, but after about 1 hour of very
intense ones, I could not see myself going for several more
hours, and opted for an epidural (which I never thought I
would ask for). I did hear that it is very difficult to work with
contractions when you are induced because they come on
strong and hard. The epidural gave incredible relief and I
rested and almost slept, visited with my older daughter and
chatted on the phone!! Had to take back all the negative
thoughts I had had about women using pain medication
during labor! I was able to walk around during early labor
with the IV attached to get the contractions going, but once
they were in full swing I stayed in my room, on the birthing
ball. I couldn't have walked anywhere anyway. I did need
continuous monitoring, but did not need to lie down, until the
epidural. When I was ready to push the heart beat of my
baby went down dangerously and a vacuum was used for
her birth. I felt very bad about having to make that decision,
but it seemed pretty clear, that I wanted a healthy baby more
than another unwanted intervention. She came out in 2 or 3
pushes and was (and is) fine! Yes, I too had hoped for a
natural birth, but in the end, I am ok with how it all happened
and felt well supported by my doctor and was fine at the
hospital. I hope all works out best for you, and just know
that you are doing the very best with the options you have.
My son ended up 2 weeks late, so induction was necessary. I was
disappointed that my body couldn't ''do it'' on its own, but
induction was neccessary, as Michael was perfectly happy in my
womb. I imagine every woman's body reaccts differently to
I was very firm with my doctor that I wanted to use as little
medication as possible, as the labor contractions are stronger
are stronger when you have to take pitosin (sp?) It was
actually not very painful at all. Once they had me on the pit,
my contractions came along slowly and not too painfully, When I
was at 5cm the DR broke my water, and about 102 minutes later,
my son was born (under 15 minutes of strenuous pushing) I took
no pain medication and just focused on breathing..
Of course, I'm sure every woman has a different experience. I'm
sure it is hard to predict how your body will react to the drugs
Induction isn't something I planned on. I was disappointed that
I had to walk into Alta-Bates with my pillow and suitcase, but
at least it was organized. My husband and I knew that when we
left the house, we'd be coming back with our little boy.
I wish you the best. Your induction experience may run smoothly.
this may be coming too late but I thought I'd respond about
your concerns regarding labor induction. First, what
medical reason has your OB given you for the induction? If
there is not a clear medical reason for soing so ( and not
just to prevent a bigger baby) it may not really be necessary
to begin inducing before you are really at 42 weeks
gestation. It is at that point that statistics show a greater
likelihood of problems caused by going post due and
technically you are not post due until then anyway. Second,
do take the time to at least call your practitioner or see them
before coming in for the induction to ask all the questions
you may have. Even if it doesn't change your mind about the
procedure, you will have peace of mind when you do go in.
Third, how the induction goes depends somewhat on the
condition of your cervix beforehand, the position of your baby
and what procedure used. If your cervix is not ''ripe'' (soft
and squishy), a prostaglandin gel may be applied to soften
it first before giving you medication to start contractions.
One way to help soften a cervix yourself or rather with the
help of a friend! is to have sex since semen has natural
prostaglandins in it and your own orgasms (however fun or
unfun sex may sound right now) will also help stimulate the
uterus. If your baby is head down low in your pelvis, zero
station or below, any medication will be more effective since
your baby's head will act in conjunction with the contractions
to further dilate the cervix. If not, it may not be effective. I
have seen many women induced with Pitocin for many days
with no effect because their babies were just not low
enough yet. Third, are they talking about using Pitocin to
stimulate contractions or Cytotec? Pitocins is a synthetic
form of Oxytocin used to stimulate contractions. It is given
through an IV at a low dose to begin with and then turned up
in increments until a good contraction pattern is
established. It is usually effective if both of the above are in
shape (ripe cervix and low baby). Having Pitocin usually
requires continuous fetal monitoring using the external
monitor in the hospital since it tends to cause stronger and
longer contractions than your own labor would give you so
early on and they like to see how the baby is responding so
that any modifications in dosage or your position can be
made. The biggest issue then is your mobility (or lack of it)
due to the restriciton of the monitors, unfortunately, Alta
Bates does not have telemetry (monitors that you can wear
around your neck and move with). In addition, since the
contractions are much stronger earlier than you may be
prepared for, women often ask for pain medication earlier
than they expected so it is wise to consider all your options
ahead of time. Sometimes, using Pitocin is the beginning
of a snowballing effect of interventions but I believe that the
more questions you ask before each procedure will help
stop that from happening. Don't be afraid to keep asking
until you feel sure you understand the full benefits and risks
of each procedure before agreeing to it. Generally
speaking, everything offered to you is a reccommendation
unless it is truly a medical emergency and the staff,
particularly the nurses will be happy to explain it all to you
ahead of time if you ask in a positive way. Cytotec is a pill (
it is usually cut in haf or even thirds) placed into the cervix to
ripen the cervix and cause dilation at the same time. It is an
ulcer medication that is being used for this purpose without
the approval of the FDA and has not had any broad or long
term studies to show its effectiveness verses its negative
side effects as yet (that I am aware of). it isan extremely
inexpensive medication and is being used more and more
often but if it were me, i would be very cautious about using
it. You could certainly do an internet search about it. So, the
final note is to trust your body and your baby in this process
and remember that induction is like picking fruit from a tree,
it it's not ripe, it's not coming and may not be worth all the
effort in the end! Forgive the length of this message and
It sounds like your dr. is not terribly sensitive to just assume
that if you're not ready on your due date that you'll need to be
induced. It is very likely that you will go into labor on your
own in the next week or so. However, I was induced with my
first baby 10 days after my due date and while it was no
picnic it is nothing to be afraid of. In my case they decided
to induce because my amniotic fluid was low, but they
probably would have induced at 14 days past my due date
anyway. Except for the fact that I was induced and late, the
labor and delivery went very well. My labor was only 5 hours,
but the contractions were very strong and only 2 min apart
from the beginning. I was in bed for all of it except to go to
the bathroom, but with contractions that close together I
didn't want to be walking around anyway. I didn't end up
getting an epidural because I wanted to see how long I
could do without, and by the time I asked for one it was ''too
late'' (policies on that may differ from place to place), so if
you want an epidural be sure to make your desires known
By the way, I just had my second baby on Monday and my
experience was totally different: I was only one cm dilated
the day before my due date, but I did go into labor on my
own the day after my due date and went in to the hospital at
midnight. After laboring all night (with contractions very
strong, but not as close together as when I was induced) I
did get an epidural and my baby was born about 3 hours
Having had two very different kinds of experience I have to
say that there are pros and cons to each. If I were you, I
would schedule the induction for 2 weeks after the due date
and hope I went into labor on my own before that. Yes,
induced labor is painful, but so is ''regular'' labor. I'm happy
I was able to do it without an epidural the first time, but I was
very happy to be able to have an epidural the second time.
Both times I had about 40-45 minutes of pushing. Both
births were at Summit.
Good luck! I'm sure your experience will be great however it
works out. There are always things that we wish were a
little different, but as long as baby and mommy are healthy
those things don 't matter.
All the best!
I was very, very interested to read the recent postings on
labor induction as I just experienced induction 3 months ago
with my first baby. I was not certain I should share my
experience since it isn't exactly the birth story any soon-to-
be Mom dreams of, but, on the other hand, I know that when I
was pregnant, I was interested in all kinds of experiences.
Actually, when reading ''Grateful Mama'''s post, I felt like I
was reading a description of my own experience down to the
notes on the door begging for a moment of peace!! (Which, uh,
never happened!) So, here goes...I was scheduled to be induced
on a Friday morning at 7am, 15 days past my due date. My
husband called the hospital all day asking when we should/could
come in. Finally, after what felt like forever, my husband
dragged his emotionally-drained wife (uh, me) to the hospital
at about 4pm. And we came back home around 9pm! The labor
ward was ''too busy''. YUK! Two days later, at 17 days past
due, we went back to the hospital. They started induction that
morning (which consisted of numerous interventions that I won't
get into) and I had a c-section 36 hours later. During the
induction, I couldn't have any kind of cervical gel that would
help ripen my cervix or possibly jump start my labor because I
had been having very strong contractions for about 3 weeks.
Anyway, the induction, constant, painful contractions, and
surgery were the easy part. It was the rest of the hospital
stay that made me crazy. Not a moment of peace. Every time
that my husband or I would get the baby to sleep and nod off
ourselves, someone would be taking my temperature or waking the
baby for something or other. I did ask them to come back later
for such things, but no luck. My husband stayed with me the
whole time. He was amazing. We were so worn out from the
whole experience that we didn't even pick up the phone to let
anyone know the baby was born until we got home. OK, so you
asked about induction, but got a little bit more (I'd always
heard how relaxing the hospital stay is, I wish I knew better
and wasn't expecting that). Just remember that no matter what
kind of experience you have, as soon as labor starts naturally
or as soon as you are induced, you know that you are so close
to meeting the absolute LOVE OF YOUR LIFE!! And anything that
you go through is TOTALLY 100% WORTH IT!!! Good luck!!! (OH,
PS- I've found that the drs and nurses on the labor and
delivery ward are very kind, caring, and almost as excited to
meet your baby as you are.)
Another Grateful Mama
I am giving birth next month at CPMC (California Pacific Medical Center in
SF) and just heard that they have a policy of inducing labor at 41 weeks,
which apparently my doctor follows. We got this news from the nurse
practitioner and haven't actually had a chance to talk to the OB directly
about it yet. Everything I have read suggests labor is usually induced at
(or around) 42 weeks. I generally feel confident that CPMC is a good place
to be having a baby and wonder if there is some new information that I
don't know about (the nurse
practitioner said something about placental degeneration). I can't help
but wonder if it's just some kind of "malpractice insurance" for them. In
general, when one declines recommended treatment, does one sign something
relieving them (the hospital/OB) of responsibility? We are starting to
think about our "birth plan" and I wonder what happens if we object to
I wouldn't worry about it too much. At 41 weeks, you are
going to be very very happy that you don't have to wait
another whole week!!
I felt sad to read that inducing labor has become a routine procedure. One has to
ask why this is happening. Nevertheless, I would like to refer you to some
on the drugs used to induce.
First of all- they cannot force you to induce. The ball is 100%
in your court, though if you decide to wait a week or two, expect
much resistance. Even bullying...
When I had my baby, my doctor was trying to convince me to
schedule a c-section becuase of some issues that I have... I did
my homework, I knew that it wasn't necessary. She went as far as
to yell and scream at me. Then told me that I was going to kill
my baby. I let them iduce to back them off. The induction failed,
she just wasn't ready... I ended up with a c-section. They were
trying to convince me that my baby was too big... My huge 8
pounder didn't seem too big ;-)
Bottom line- listen to you gut... You could just always avoid
your doctor for a week. REmember- they need to look proactive,
just in case. Plus, and induction, or c-section isn't a bad thing
for them either. Then again, it's not their middle being cut open!
Get a second opinion and get some thorough ultrasounds
to check placental sufficiency. Because of the potential for
increased fetal distress and interventions associated with
inductions, I would insist upon no induction unless they
could show me medical proof (not just my ''estimated due
date'') that this baby needed to be born.
I went beyond 41 weeks with my pregnancy and my midwife had me
go into the testing lab for non-stress tests twice a week to
make sure the placenta was in good shape. I think I started
this at about 40 weeks. So there is a way to tell how the
placenta is functioning. I suggest you ask your doctor about
such monitoring, if you want to decline the induction at 41
The longer the pregnancy, the more aged the placenta is. An
aging placenta becomes less useful and eventually fails to
provide the needed oxygen and nutrients to the baby. 42 weeks
is the customary cut-off for inducing labor. I was 41 1/2 weeks
gestation and wanted to be induced because of the placenta. I
was willing to forgo my ''vision'' of what labor and delivery
would be, because I was concerned about the baby's health.
Well, I am no expert, but I have done doula training, and I do
know people that have had healthy, wonderful hospital births.
One friend had her baby in June 12 days after her supposed due
date-- no induction. Also, I thought it was actually at CPMC.
So, I would say that the 41 week thing sounds absurd, and I
agree with you-- it's a liability thing. There is no placental
degeneration at that point. That is a point-blank lie. Have you
discussed the details of your birth plan with your midwife or OB?
I was induced at CPMC 7 days past my due date and it was
so easy and not at all what I had imagined based on friends
horror stories with forced labor. It was not terribly painful.
I had an epideral early, took a nap and woke up to push.
I am 10 weeks pregnant again and my doctor told me she
would not let me go a day past my due date, My first baby
was big and got stuck. I hope I get induced again so I do not
have to experience ''going into labor'' in all its glory.
It is a great place to have a baby. The staff is wonderful !!!
I was 14 days past my due date and they talked me into being
induced. My body was very resistent to the process, they had to
give me a lot of pitocin. They had a difficult time breaking my
water - it was just awful. Then when the contractions kicked in
it was very fast and out of control. They had to race to get
the epidural. After the epidural was in everything became a
My baby was 6 lbs 10 oz and I don't believe for a second that I
needed to be induced. I wasn't ready and I don't think my
daughter was either. Listen to your own instinct, get a second
opinion and watch out for people scheduling your birth around
I would agree with another writer, that you have 100%
control, and should make a very well informed decision. In
any case, do not let them give you a drug called cytotec!
This drug is often used these days, but has not been
officially approved by the FDA for use in labor induction. The
risks, though not well documented, can be grave!!! It can
lead to uterine rupture, and embolism (blood clot) that can
kill both you and the baby. Here is a link to an article about
what it did do one woman. Copy and paste into web addr:
Chinese Medicine can be used to induce labor, although
acupuncturists are often at this point not allowed in
hospitals here. Feel free to contact me if you are interested
in this possibility, though.
I was so relieved that my OB made no mention of induction at my
41 week appointment. I feared induction, as I know that one
intervention often leads to many more.
Instead, she did a sonogram and noted that there was tons of
amniotic fluid, which apparently indicated a healthy environment.
(She may have used other indicators as well.) Then she had me
make another appointment for 42 weeks. I had my baby (without
induction) the next week - two days shy of exactly 42 weeks. He
was born perfectly healthy, and my doula showed me the umbilical
cord - a beautiful spiral of vibrant red and blue - and said it
was one of the healthiest she'd ever seen. So, even at almost 42
weeks, my placenta was thriving. (I should also note that my due
date was correct, as I knew the date of conception.)
This is not to say that pregnancy should never be induced, but
instead that just because you've gone past the 40 week mark does
not mean that the environment in the womb is unhealthy for the
baby. Ask your doctors if they can use indicators other than
your due date to determine whether induction is necessary.
Do non stress test and sonogram to measure the amount of your
amnio fluid. Your baby is most likely be fine if you have
enough fluid, and if your baby's heart responds well with his/
her movement and your contractions.
My doctor wanted me to induce my baby, but I said no because he
seemed very healthy according to those tests I mentioned. It
was good to have those information from tests to back up myself.
After reading several posts about inducing labor, I wanted to
tell my story as well:
With my first pregnancy, I went in for my 41 week check-up and
fully expected to be told I had to wait another week before they
would induce. I was elated when the doctor told me they would
give it a try if I requested it. They used 2 applications of
prostiglandin on my cervix and that jump started contractions. It
was a very gentle and slow build up (unlike some of the horror
stories I had heard of Pitocin IV drip induction) and after 26
hours, a healthy 8 lb. baby.
With my second pregnancy, I made an appt. to be induced at 41
weeks and asked my mother to take some time off work and fly up
so she could be with me in the delivery room.
With that labor, they used cytotec to induce. I know this is
controversial because some women have suffered ill effects and my
labor was very fast (2 hours) but on the plus side, there were no
drugs involved (unlike the first time) and I was only at the
hospital for 24 hours. I was grateful to get home to my son (and
introduce him to his baby sister) plus my mother saw her
granddaughter come into the world.
Both induction experiences were very positive for me.
this page was last updated: Apr 14, 2009
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network