How To Have A Positive Induced Birth
An induced birth is one that is started artificially.
The NHS states that every year 1 in 5 births are induced births. It's worth checking the statistics for your hospital though. There are several reasons why a woman may be offered an induction, namely there is concerns for the mother or baby's wellbeing. By far the most common reason I see as a Hypnobirthing teacher is that an expectant mother has exceeded her due date.
Only 5% of babies will arrive on their due date. Sources: Aims
About 90% of babies will arrive between 37 and 42 weeks. It can be helpful not to share your estimated due date with everyone or run the risk of them - well meaning - counting down the days which can cause stress at the end of your pregnancy. Try the mantra: my baby will come when they're ready instead!
A great source for evidence-based information and even a book all about induction is Dr Sara Wickham, midwife and researcher.
How is a 'due date' estimated?
There are two methods doctors and midwives use to estimate a EDD:
counting 280 days from the first day of your last monthly period
estimating your baby's size from various measurements made during an ultrasound scan.
Charting temperature, monitoring mucus, using ovulation test kits and knowing times when you could have conceived, or having conceived by IVF may mean you have your own information about when you became pregnant.
Most of the women in my classes have calculated a different due date based on their own tracking so this can also help to manage expectations.
If the only reason induction is being offered to you it's really important you give it careful consideration. Induced labour is very different from spontaneous labour and whilst some women will experience a positive birth, others find it much more intense and statistically you are more likely to need pain relief and intervention.
If however, there are clear medical concerns that make induced birth the safest option for you and your baby then there are lots of things you can do to help ensure it's a positive experience:
Be Informed: first make sure you understand why you're being offered induction and all the risks and benefits. The BRAIN acronym is a good tool to guide you through this conversation (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Instincts and Nothing).
Be Prepared: Ask your care team to talk you through the whole process. Where will you be? Who can be with you? All stages even if you don't need to complete each level of induction as spontaneous labour takes over. Talk to your birth partner about all this and how they can support you.
Be Equipped: What can you bring to help you be more comfortable? You could be staying in hospital for several days. What will help you relax? The ward can be noisy and stressful with women in different stages of labour and staff moving around. Ear pods, eye mask, iPad to watch feel good shows, creature comforts and tools to relax you.
Manage Expectations: Whilst some women will find spontaneous labour kicks in early, many find they need to remain in hospital for several days. Your partner should be free to join you if you wish so if you have other children or responsibilities find someone who can help. Consider a Digital Detox so you aren't managing constant requests for updates too. Nothing like a constant reminder of how long something is taking for it to feel worse!
Hypnobirthing for Induction: Yes you read that right! Hypnobirthing techniques can make a huge difference to your induced birth experience. I've seen it! Learning calming breathing techniques can support you to relax and rest. Learning to trust your baby and your body can bring calm, confidence to a very medicalised process. Positive affirmations and visualisations can help you find your 'zone' on a busy ward and the more relaxed you are the more your natural birthing hormones will flow supporting the intervention. Remember, induction is designed to trigger spontaneous labour so you still need to be in the right mindset to allow your muscles to relax and release and for oxytocin to flow for efficient and powerful contractions.
So talk to your hypnobirthing teacher about making a Positive Induction Birth Plan and start to visualise your positive experience.