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Labor induction refers to any artificial method that can be used to get labor going. This is includes natural methods such as herbs (specifically, black and blue cohosh), stripping of membranes, artificial rupture of membranes or breaking your bag of waters, of drugs like Pitocin.

Whatever induction method is used, the aim is the same starting contractions so that your baby will be born. When is labor induction considered, and why? Induction can be recommended for a variety of reasons. None of the aforementioned methods of labor induction are without risks, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of induction. When your healthcare provider brings up the topic of inducing labor, feel free to ask as many questions as you can think of, and requesting more time to decide. Inducing labor is an important decision.

The most common reasons for inducing labor are being post dates, showing preeclampsia symptoms and signs, when your water has broken but you are not contracting yet, and uterine infection. Other reasons to induce or consider induction include a partial placental abruption during pregnancy, a lack of amniotic fluid, or your baby has stopped developing at the expected speed. A synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin called Pitocin is the most common labor induction method. Stripping the membranes, which involves the amniotic sac being separated from the uterine wall, is another common method. An amniotomy, also known as breaking the bag of waters, can be used to encourage labor as well, but in that case Pitocin might be needed as well. Then there are manual or medical methods of dilating the cervix, both of which can be effective to induce labor too.

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