How is labor induction done?

Healthcare providers may recommend one or more of several methods for inducing labor:

  • Amniotomy: During this procedure, your healthcare provider inserts a small plastic probe through your cervix to break the membranes of your amniotic sac. The amniotic sac contains the fluid surrounding your baby. Rupturing these membranes usually begins labor quickly because the cushion of fluid between your cervix and the baby is reduced.
  • Stripping the membranes: Your healthcare provider passes a gloved finger over the membranes connecting your amniotic sac to your uterus. The action releases certain natural chemicals, called prostaglandins. These chemicals soften (open) your cervix and help contractions begin.
  • Medications: Certain medications help your cervix soften and contractions begin. These medications include oxytocin (Pitocin®) and man-made prostaglandins, which are substances that act like hormones in the body.
  • Mechanical methods: These methods to help promote cervical ripening include the use of balloon catheters.

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