Often pregnancy can involve a longer than expected wait to deliver that much-anticipated new baby which might signal the need for your doctor to begin the labor induction process in Houston, Texas. Preparing for this ahead of time is important. Knowing your options and what is involved when your doctor does discuss inducing your delivery can be helpful and calming.
Dr. Kristin Schmidt has been successfully delivering babies and caring for women in the Houston, Texas area for over 15 years. When she does decide to induce your labor, it is to stimulate your uterus to contract so that you have the opportunity for a vaginal delivery. Inducing labor is not typically performed unless you or your baby is in jeopardy or at risk.
Only under certain other specific conditions will Dr. Schmidt induce labor that is elective. If you live far from the hospital, it can be deemed important to induce. If so, your baby’s gestational age will be confirmed at 39 weeks.
Conditions that Might Signal Labor Induction
- Premature Rupture of Your Membranes
- 2 Weeks Past Due Date – no signs of labor
- High Blood Pressure Disorders – Preeclampsia
- Chorioamnionitis – infection of your uterus
- Fetal Growth Restriction
- Gestational Diabetes
- Placental Abruption – placenta becomes disconnected from the uterine wall
- Certain Medical Conditions-such as kidney disease
How to Prepare- 4 Ways
One way to prepare for labor and delivery is by your doctor assessing your cervix. With the help of the “Bishops Scoring” parameters, Dr. Schmidt will determine if your cervix has begun to soften (called ripen) and thin out in preparation to open for delivery. These changes usually begin to occur several weeks prior to labor. Having a score of less than 6 would mean you are not ready for labor.
If it is time to have your baby or it is deemed medically important to induce, you can be given drugs called “Prostaglandins” that can help your cervix to ripen and soften. These are naturally produced by the body and are safe to be administered. If you have had a previous cesarean delivery (c-section) or other uterine surgery, these drugs may not be used due to a greater risk of uterine rupture.
Occasionally, devices with Laminaria (substance that absorbs water) can be inserted to widen the cervix.
Another technique called “stripping the membranes” is sometimes used to bring on labor. Your doctor will perform the procedure with a gloved finger that passes over the thin membranes connecting the amniotic sac to your uterus. This may stimulate your own prostaglandin release and start the cervical softening and onset of your contractions.
Dr. Schmidt may elect to rupture the amniotic sac where the amniotic fluid is held or “break your water” to stimulate your labor after cervix has dilated, thinned and your baby’s head has moved into the pelvic area. In this process called an amniotomy, a small home is made in the amniotic sac with a special instrument. Sometimes you may experience slight discomfort with this procedure.
Other Drugs Used to Stimulate Labor
The hormone Oxytocin is sometimes used to stimulate your uterus to begin contracting either to begin labor or to speed up the process if it’s already begun normally without previous induction.
Risks of Labor Induction and Cervical Ripening
As with all medical procedures, there are certain risks that have to be weighed and considered. Additionally, any prior medical conditions may lead or contribute to these complications:
- Inducing too Many Contractions that May Lead to Rapid Fetal Heartbeat
- Risk of Infection of Mother or Baby
- Uterine Rupture
- Increased Risk of C-section
- Fetal Death
Care You Can Trust
Having performed numerous deliveries, you can be confident that you will be having exceptional care
If you are preparing for pregnancy or need to discuss your labor and delivery needs, Dr. Schmidt welcomes you and looks forward to your visit. You can schedule your meeting with her by calling our office at (713) 464-4044 or by contacting us online.