What Does Labor Support Look Like During an Induction?

Continuous support during labor and birth from a supportive loved one or professional, like a doula, has been shown to increase your chance of having a vaginal birth with less or no interventions, decrease the need for pain medication and cesarean, and increase your satisfaction with your birth experience. And, continuous support benefits all kinds of births! If you need to be induced, here’s what you can expect — and plan for — when it comes to labor support.

Labor support for an induction is different due to the planned nature of the birth. In most cases during a planned induction, you’re checked into the hospital to begin the procedure well before any contractions have started. While labor support is most active and hands on once contractions are well established, support during the early hours of induction is centered more around companionship and assisting with logistics. Labor support during an induction before contractions become established may include:

  • Helping with hospital check-in
  • Getting you comfortable in the hospital room
  • Retrieving any needed/desired items for additional comfort
  • Providing any emotional/physical comfort during uncomfortable procedures 
  • Helping pass the time through conversation and shared activities
  • Asking staff questions to acquire more information 
  • Providing updates to family members

If the induction is successful in establishing contractions, there will be an increased need for more hands-on labor support. Contractions caused by medications used during an induction, like Pitocin, often are more intense and require additional coping/comfort measures. Labor support during this phase may include:

  • Helping you find new positions in or out of the bed for comfort, while managing your IV and monitors
  • Providing focus to get through contractions, like breathing or guided visualization
  • Comfort through massage/touch and/or heat/ice during contractions
  • Helping with hydration
  • Communicating with staff/medical personnel

If you have an epidural during your induction, labor support can help by providing companionship, encouraging and assisting with position changes, helping you find comfort in bed, communicating about your care, and reassuring/encouraging you throughout the process. An induction can last up to and beyond 24 hours, which means that mental and emotional support is most critical, as the experience can seem to drag on with no end in sight. Keeping your spirits up is the best thing anyone can do to support you!

Support during birth with an induction is much like it is during any vaginal birth — encouragement, focus, being physically by your side (if that is what is desired, of course). If you need a c-section, your labor support person will be able to accompany you into the operating room for birth (usually a limit of one person) to support you emotionally. 

During the early postpartum hours, your support team can make sure your physical and nutritional needs are met, as well as checking in on your needs for breastfeeding support and pain relief. 

Continuous labor support is good for every birth and every person. While support may look different from birth to birth and person to person, everyone can benefit and, when possible, should plan for one or more persons to provide support on the big day. 

 

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