Getting induced is a decision that many women make. 23% of women (probably on the low side of the actual number) are induced. Why would a would need or want to be induced? As a labor nurse we will talk about the top 5 reasons for induction.
First off, if you have questions about being induced, it must mean you are headed to 40 weeks. I just have to ask if you’ve taken a labor class? Most of my patients say no — because they “just couldn’t fit it in.” — which is why I changed all of that.
It’s quick, it truly CAN be done before you go to the hospital and I’m big on including your partner in the process. Come join me!
First off, I’m Hilary. I’m known as the Pregnancy Nurse a lot of places on the internet, but I’ve been an L&D nurse since 2001, and I’m also a mom to three. I’d love to share more pregnancy info with you, if you’ll have me. 🙂
Before we get into it — I want to say that as a labor nurse I am a HUGE fan of letting mother nature take her course, and allowing your baby to be born on their own timeline as much as possible (even if that means going overdue).
That being said, there are a lot of reasons we shouldn’t wait for mother nature, so let’s talk about them (be sure to check out my Pregnancy Nurse post on being induced at 37 weeks).
Reasons to Induce Labor in Pregnant Women
Today I want to share 5 reasons why pregnant women are induced. I go into the vast majority of reasons why women get induced in my labor course, but I think this will give you a good idea (and will also help you translate into whatever condition you’re facing).
Large Baby (Large for Gestational Age)
If your baby is measuring large, they may make the choice to induce you.
They can measure the baby in a couple in a few ways:
- Measuring tape (your provider measures from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus)
- Leopolds Maneuvers (your provider will feel where the baby’s head and limbs are in in your uterus with his/her hands)
- Ultrasound — keep in mind that earlier ultrasounds are more accurate on baby’s weight, as there is more baby to measure the further along you get.
Those measurements, possibly in combination with a vaginal exam to determine how large your baby exit area is (depending on the angle and positioning of your pelvic bones) will help them determine if an induction is appropriate.
Diabetes (including Type 1, Type 2 or gestational Diabetes)
Due to the sugar in your system sometimes diabetes grows a larger baby.
In fact, if you fail your 1 hour glucose test, it can also mean that you could have a larger baby as well.
All of this then reverts back to the large baby paragraphs above. It depends on how well your glucose is controlled, and a number of factors. I do find that most diabetic women are at least induced by 40 weeks.
Prior to the past few years, often they were induced WEEKS before their due date, but lately they’d prefer baby stay inside a bit longer.
BTW, my friend Katie shared her experienced with GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus)
It makes your smooth muscles relax, which leaks protein in your urine and fluid into your ankles (again, tons more info in that article I linked to above).
BUT, the only way to stop it is really to get the baby out, which leads to induction.
Low Fluid Levels
Your baby and body produce the amniotic fluid that fills the sac surrounding the baby (it’s mostly baby bee though).
If that fluid gets too low (or frankly, too high) it can be problematic.
This fluid level is measured with ultrasound in a test called an AFI (which we talk about in this free class).
If the level is too low and you’re close enough to your due date, it’s likely they will induce you.
This is why, if you’re worried your water has broken, you should mention it to your provider.
This means you’re making the CHOICE to be induced.
Either you, or your doctor has encouraged it.
Maybe your moms in town, or the doctor is leaving town. Or, you’re just tired of being pregnant.
I see this often, but please consider the reasoning before you just plan to get the baby out. I truly do think that letting the baby grow inside until they are ready is best. However, it’s up to each couple to decide what’s best for them.
And I’ve certainly started a lot of elective inductions.
A note on elective inductions: You’re at the “bottom of the list” for inductions. That means if your hospital is busy they will take all inductions that have a medically necessary reason before you.
I know it’s annoying, but it does make sense since we’re there to do our best for the people who need it most.
That ALL being said, I was 12 days over with my last baby and had to be induced. I wasn’t happy about it, but as soon as they broke my water I had a baby. Life’s fun like that.
That’s why having a birth plan is nice, but it doesn’t always work out the way you’d planned.
That’s it for inductions today. If you have more questions about them, be sure stay tuned for the other induction posts I have planned (join my email list so you know when they happen):