Rebecca Crowe, midwife on the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, London, tells us about induced labour
If your pregnancy has been uncomplicated up to this point, then the short answer is no, it’s not likely you’ll be induced. If your pregnancy has been straightforward then the best option is to wait a little longer for labour to start spontaneously. In most cases, you won’t be offered an induction until you have reached 41 to 42 weeks, in accordance with the guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).
However, if you notice a reduction in fetal movement, or you begin to feel unwell, you need to alert your clinical team as soon as possible, and they will advise you if an induction is necessary.
If you have been diagnosed with any kind of medical condition or complication before or during your pregnancy, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, then it is highly likely that you will already have been induced anyway. If not, then, your team may recommend an induction very shortly.
There are alternatives that can help to bring on labour before induction needs to be considered. Your consultant or midwife can administer a ‘stretch and sweep’ internal examination of your cervix, which can sometimes encourage labour naturally. You should also try and keep active, as being mobile can help. The best thing to do is carry on as normal; go for walks, eat and drink regularly and ensure you stay well-hydrated.
I know it is hard and extremely tiresome, but try to stay as relaxed as possible – and let your hormones do the work!