5 Ways to Improve an Induction Experience

In many parts of the world, induction is over-prescribed for unnecessary medical reasons (find out more here). Sometimes, an induction is necessary for either parent or baby, or both. (Learn about the medical reasons for induction.) If an induction becomes necessary for you and your baby, there are things you can do to help ensure a positive, supported, and healthy labor and birth experience. 

5 Ways to Improve Your Induction Experience

Support: Perhaps the most critical element of any birth, continuous emotional and physical support during an induction is especially helpful. Support can come from your partner, a trusted family member or friend, and a doula. Doulas in particular are adept at helping people navigate and find comfort during an induction experience. 

Ask questions: An induction is filled with a multitude of medical interventions and unfortunately, your provider will not always take the time to explain each step or ask if you have questions. It’s your right to ask questions and give consent to procedures at every step along the way. If you need more information, ask for it. If you want to know about alternatives, ask for them. A doula will encourage you to ask questions to help you find the answers you need. 

Get off your back: Even with an induction, during which you are required to be continuously monitored and have an IV, you can and should move and change positions frequently to find comfort and encourage labor to progress. This is especially critical during an induction because contractions tend to be stronger when using the induction medications, like Pitocin. A nurse, your midwife, or a doula will be adept at helping you maneuver around wires and tubes to find positions that provide relief and comfort. 

Positive self talk: For some, an induction can feel discouraging. It’s important to treat yourself with care and love, reminding yourself that your body is capable and knows how to give birth. Remind yourself that induction is just another leg of your journey toward becoming a parent. 

Stay hydrated and fueled: An induction tends to take longer than going into labor on your own. It’s critical to stay hydrated and maintain energy by eating and drinking. Even if you can’t stomach much, sips and small bites will help you feel strong and energized throughout your experience. Keep in mind that some hospitals still maintain the “NPO” – no food or drink by mouth – policy, which is not evidence based. Decide in advance how you’ll handle this if your hospital maintains this policy. 

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