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Induction - what to expect

(29 Posts)
LisaClapham Tue 14-Oct-08 12:48:54

I am going in to be induced this weekend. I am very anxious about it and unsure about what to expect as far as how things will progress and how much it will hurt. They are planning on starting with the gels on sunday evening with the plan (I think) to break my waters on Monday and then I hope fully go into labour.
I am 38 weeks at the moment and the baby is nearly 8lbs - the reson for the induction is that I am diabetic (so not allowed to go to full term). This is my first child and am very nervous about the whole experience.
Can anyone share their experiences of induction and what I can expect. Thank you.

twofalls Tue 14-Oct-08 12:59:56

Bless you, I was really, really nervous too. In fact I cried all the way to the hospital. Blooming midwife asked whether I was upset because I was one of those NCT types hmm and I said now, because I was bloody terrified! This is what happened to me. In summary, once it all got going it was fine. It was the hanging round for each stage that stressed me.

Like you, I went in for the gel the night before. All it did was keep me up with what felt like period pain. I stupidly didn't rest and thought if I kept active it would hurry it along. It didn't. I should have just had the paracetamol and tried to sleep.

In the morning, they were really busy so I didn't have my waters broken until about midday. Contractions started then, but again not really strongly so after 2 hours of pacing I was put on a drip.

Contractions did come on pretty quickly by then but to be honest, I was glad that something was happening, I just wanted to get on with it. I started on gas and air at 7PM and dd was born at 10PM.

Being active was a bit cumbersome because you have a monitor and a drip but I could and did still move around as much as possible. Funnily enough the canula in my hand bothered me because I couldn't put weight on my hand without it hurning but I think that distracted me from the contractions to start with.

Sorry for the essay. It really was fine, some people don't need all that intervention either and you might be one of those.

Good luck.

laurz75 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:00:47

Everyone varies but I'll tell you about my experiences. My midwife says I make and cook babies well but they just don't want to come out!
Baby 1 - 10 days early my waters broke. Given 72 hrs to 'get going' but nothing happens. Had pessary (gel) at 11pm and was told to go to sleep and nothing would happen. DH sent home. An hour later I had pain but coped with it for half an hour when I was taken up to delivery suite. It was VERY VERY painful and I was violently sick. Laboured with TENS and gas and air and ds was born at 4.45am, 8lb 1. The contractions were very intense very quickly.So a quick labour, 2nd degree tear and the hospital forgot to phone my dh and he only just made it back for the birth!
Baby 2 - (20 months later!) - 2 weeks late. Induced by drip as breaking waters did nothing! This was by far worse than the pessary. The contractions were horrendous. Again a TENS helped and I had gas and air. I was at the point of asking for more drugs when they said I was almost fully dilated. My second labour was around 6 hours with no tears. DD 8lb 5
So my advice is, get a TENS, consider your pain threshold and do not be afraid to ask for drugs if you need them.
Good luck and enjoy your baby.

twofalls Tue 14-Oct-08 13:01:58

I meant to say, if you have any specific questions, I will try to answer them.

laurz75 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:03:15

Just re-read my post and I sound a bit scary - consider this, I was pregnant again only 11 months after my first baby was born so can't have been so bad!grin

Ewe Tue 14-Oct-08 13:04:10

Hi Lisa

My induction went as follows:

Thursday night: 1st gel pessary - nothing
Friday morning: 2nd gel pessary - nothing
Friday afternoon: 3rd gel pessary - nothing
(at this point I self discharged as needed a decent nights sleep and baby was doing fine, no contractions etc)

Saturday morning: Went in, despite no pains etc I had dilated to 2cm and they were happy to break my waters.

2pm: Broke my waters, went for a long walk!

5pm: Still no contractions so started on synto drip

9pm: Synto drip still not causing contractions

10pm: Whack synto right up, start contracting, had epidural as it bloody hurt!

Midnight: 4cm dilated, top up epidural

4am: Drip keeps being put up to get me to contract but baby doesn't like it so they have to put it back down, barely contracting, begging for a c-section.

6am: Examined again, still 4cm.

6:30am: Epidural topped up, taken to theatre for c-section

6:55am: Beautfil baby girl born grin

Now I know this isn't the greatest story but despite how rubbish it was I genuinely didn't care by the end. I was so elated to finally meet my baby I just didn't care how she arrive and when I think about her birth I think nothing but positive thoughts. So try not to worry, the most important things is getting your healthy baby delivered and making sure that you are well too.

Lots of people only need one lot of gel etc - what is your Bishops Score?

hambo Tue 14-Oct-08 13:05:10


I was induced and it was not as bad as you read - I had a natural V birth with no stiches required...

I had a gell but nothing happened so I had to wait and they gave me another - same thing...I ended up with 4 gells before my contractions started.

They were then able to break my waters. I was not put on the drip, and from the start of the contractions I had a normal birth.

The worst thing about being induced is that you get very tired as 4 gells were administered over two days and nights. try to get loads of sleep and try not to get excited about seeing the baby as it could be a while!

I had reflexology before I went in - even if it didn't help it made me relax!!

GOOD LUCK, please don't worry, it will all be grand



LisaClapham Tue 14-Oct-08 13:11:03

Thanks for the replies. Twofalls sounds like your experience was somewhat better than laurz75.
Questions I have that I can think of:
1) dh is taking me in Sunday night - there is nowhere for him to slepp and hosputal is 15 mins from home, should |I send him home and get him back in the morning? ie. Is anything likely to happen on sunday night after the first gel?
2) How long will they leave me after the first gel before a second? If that doesnt work do they do a 3rd?
3) Does it hurt when they break my waters?
4) Will they put me on the drip straight away? Do the contractions brought on by the drip come quickly? Are they very painful or do they build up to being painful?
Am sure I have loads more - will keep posting.
Thank you soo much for your advice / experiences
Lisa x

mamijacacalys Tue 14-Oct-08 13:12:16

Induced at 39 weeks with both mine due to raised BP.

Had one lot of gel each time and it did the trick.

No other intervention, not even any gas and air (Except stitches with DD as she was 8lb 12lb - just as well she was born at 39 weeks!!)

You will be fine.

Agree with Ewe - try not to get too worked up and the main thing is that both you and the baby are fine.

Good luck xx

mamijacacalys Tue 14-Oct-08 13:17:32

Answers to your questions

1) Nothing is likely to happen until Monday morning at the earliest so def send DH home so that he can try and get some sleep!
2) They will check you on the Monday morning and may do a second gel then if you aren't dilating.
3) Don't know - as I said the gel worked for me both times so didn't have to have water broken.
4) I didn't have a drip do can't comment. My SIL was induced with her 2nd (waters broken and synto drip) and she reckoned that the contractions were stronger and more intense, but the labour was shorter, compared to her 1st (natural labour no intervention).

AnybodyHomeMcFly Tue 14-Oct-08 13:18:58

I sympathise, I was scared too esp as I had originally planned a birth centre water birth.

I was induced with the pessaries and they don't necess work straight away (or even on first go - which is why they then go for drip and breaking waters if necess).

With the pessary I had what felt like v v bad period pain but no proper contractions. I was on painkillers and Tens and then they offered me a sleeping tablet for overnight (having realised the pessary wasn't going to start me into labour) and I was glad I had that. Warm showers and baths also helped in this stage.

I eventually did go into labour from another pessary so didn't have the drip/ARM. It was a v fast labour.

One thing which a new mum who had just been through induction said to me beforehand was that inductions bring on labour a lot faster so she was v glad she had an epidural. It is totally up to you but i would second that. I had a mobile epidural and I was so relieved when it kicked in and I could think straight.

To put this in perspective I went from waters breaking to almost fully dilated in three hours (usually takes at least 12-18 hrs for 1st time mum) and DS was born within another 3 hours.

Very best of luck and look forward to seeing your baby. It's still very magical.

Ewe Tue 14-Oct-08 13:20:29

1) They probably won't allow your DH to stay any later than about 9/10pm anyway. So yes, he needs to go home and sleep.

2) They allow about 8 hours for the gel to work so the typically administer morning or evening and follow that cycle.

3)No doesn't hurt - just feels a bit weird! I suspect that everyones waters feel a bit weird though!

4) For me they came on suddenly and constantly.

Hope to help

twofalls Tue 14-Oct-08 13:25:10

tbh Lisa, I think I was just pleased to get it going!

1) yes, send him home. If things do happen quickly (which is unlikely) they can always get him back and he can be with you in no time.
2) I only had one, they didn't bother doing a second. I think that if it is going to work it works quick quickly, but I could be wrong.
3) it is a bit uncomfortable - like having a smear test. Actually not as bad because they use something that looks like a crochet hook. The midwife couldn't do mine so they had to get a consultant in, she did in about 5 seconds flat. They it felt like I had wet myself. if you are really nervous about it, you could ask for some gas and air to help relax you
4) I think contractions are more intense because you don't have such a slow build up to it your body isn't as prepared. Gas and air helps though so don't be afraid to ask for it. Along with any other form of pain relief.


stiggywiggywoo Tue 14-Oct-08 13:25:13

I was induced with the synto drip as my waters had gone 48 hours before and I hadn't progressed further than 1cm. It was on the lowest setting and it did increase the number and pain of the contractions considerably after only 5 minutes. However I had the baby less than 4 hours later so for me it was very effective and nice and quick. I did have an epidural after 3 hours which was great although if I had been checked I doubt if they would have let me have it so late on and I probably wouldn't have taken it but the midwives were expecting a long haul as I was a first timer. I wouldn't worry about being induced if I had another baby as the epidural was bliss and I didn't really notice them putting it in to be honest.

liahgen Tue 14-Oct-08 13:26:17

Lisa may i just ask,

Are you happy to be induced?

mrsgboring Tue 14-Oct-08 13:27:33

Lisa my experience is that a lot of it depends on hospital bureaucracy and what else is happening on Delivery Suite.

I went in on a Friday night and because of a previous late loss got permission for DH to stay with me in a private room after the gel. 1st thing was they said they don't do complicated cases like me overnight, they start them off next morning, so we both took up a private room in the hospital for absolutely no reason.

Then I had to wait the next day until Delivery Suite was quiet enough for me to come in and be started - turned out to be 4pm! (that was a lot of hanging round the hospital waiting for nothing. Staff from the unit would occasionally see us walking around and say oh not much longer, we'll be ready for you soon etc.) Then I had the gel and was monitored in case the gel had a sudden effect, then told to go and walk around to get things started. Walked two miles with period like pains, then came back for another monitor. Everything was fine, but gel didn't do much so they said I would have my waters broken, but would have to wait for a room to be available on delivery suite for that (gel was done in a little 4 bedded ward bit). They only did 1 or 2 gels IIRC so that would answer your question no. 2 - but different hospitals vary.

Stayed on the ward waiting for a room until about 1 in the morning. This was the worst bit, waiting to go as it was the recovery area for the C-Sections, and unfortunately the first one who came in had had a crash section and was very confused, lots of medical staff all being very nice to the new parents but pretty hellish for me in the next bed!

Waters broken about 1 in the morning - it wasn't painful but my god was there a lot of rummaging around in there - I think some people's waters are easy to break, but mine weren't.

With me she broke my waters and then went to get the drip straight away. I think it was because I wasn't really progressing and was desperate to get on with it. So I think the main reason they broke my waters was to check the liquor was clear (no meconium) and then they put the drip in. This was fine by me because I was very very nervous for baby and just wanted him out asap, but I'm sure you can ask for time to see if water breaking is enough to start labour off (it can be)

I have nothing really to compare to because I've only ever been induced, but I think the contractions came on pretty fast after that. They are fairly painful fairly quickly I think, in comparison to a natural labour. Investigate your pain relief options and know what you would want to ask for - and ask for it early if you want an epidural. (My epidural was fantastic - can recommend, but it's not everyone's choice)

Good luck smile

MissusH Tue 14-Oct-08 13:29:03

Hi - don't be scared....

I was induced 2wks ago at term due to possible large baby and chronic spd.

Anyway, the plan was to be similar to yours in that pessary first to dilate enough to break my waters. But you know the saying about best laid plans...?

I was given the first dose at 9am and was told I could have a wander once it had dissolved. DH & myself took ourselves off to the coffee bar, had a mooch round the shop, bought paper etc and headed back to the ward at 10.30-ish. Started to get mild, niggly period pains but not painful.

Decided to pace the corridors for a bit to see if gravity would help (and get away from really annoying family congregating on the opposite side of the ward...) Pains started to get uncomfortable and had to stop to breathe through them.

At 12pm decided to head back to the ward as we had timed the contractions at 1 minute apart, lasting 45 seconds! Thought some pain relief was in order.

MW examined me and I was 5cm so she phoned down to the delivery suite. 2 contractions later I needed to push. MW takes another look, shouts that we need to move now and the next thing I know is that I am being pushed very fast down the full length of the hospital to the delivery suite and make it just in time.

DD2 born after 2hrs 20 min labour with no pain relief and a 2nd degree tear. Waters had to be broken as DD was born. It was very painful, but as it was so quick it was over before I realised grin.

I was offered gas & air for the stitches though...

hambo Tue 14-Oct-08 13:32:53


You have loads of answers to your questions but here is my 2p's worth!

1) Send him home for a kip as if you are in for a few nights, then at least one of you will be compus mentus.

2) I had four gells - the consultant said I was the first person he had given 4 to, and they were given approx every 6 hours..

3) They broke my waters and it did not hurt at all, infact was a welcome relief.

4) They did not put me on the drip so I guess that they will observe you for a while before doing so, and if you start natural contractions then they will not give you the drip, (that is what happened in my case!)

Hope this helps

Really, the worst bit was being tired for me...

elkiedee Tue 14-Oct-08 13:50:04

I was induced with first baby because I was overdue - 8 days - with a bank holiday weekend coming up and I think next booking was available at 14 days (and because of my age) and it was successful but quite a slow process. I was terrified beforehand - take some comfort reading. My hospital also admits first timers to be induced at 7 pm the night before, and then if needs be breaks waters the next morning.

There was a handover meeting soon after we arrived and the partner of the woman in the next bed very kindly chased up someone to come and changed my bedding as I was quite sick everywhere soon after we arrived (I guess it was nerves). But once the meeting finally ended the night midwife was very sympathetic. DP was allowed to stay past normal hours until I was calmer, but I think it's a good idea to send them home to get some sleep, and he left about 11 pm.

My contractions started about 2.30 am but my labour was a long drawn out process, I think I called dp at 4.30 and he made it about 6 am, but baby didn't arrive until 4.30 am the following morning!

I hope that things go smoothly, and fast, for you.

ladyhelen2 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:59:56

I'll just add my bit too!
I had the pessaries to start me off. That was the worst bit by far. It was painful getting the pessaries to the back of the cervix. If they go for this option, see if they'll let you have a bit of gas and air for it. The midwives noticed how uncomfortable I was with the first one and suggested the gas and air for the second - a brilliant idea!
After that, it was a long process but I felt looked after at all stages. They even waited for my epidural before whacking the hormone drip that makes your contractions start (sintocinol????sp???). They warned me that it would be painful otherwise.
Other than the pessary, I enjoyed my labour. It was well managed.
I would also DEF recommend also having reflexology before you go in.
Good luck.

LisaClapham Wed 15-Oct-08 09:50:06

thanks for all the posts - great to hear about peoples different experiences and just to get some more ideas of what is going to happen to me.
I really hope it isn't too stressful/painful and is over fairly quickly - although I am not counting on this.
Liahgen - in answer to your question, am I happy to be induced? The answer is no - however I have no choice in the matter as am Diabetic (type 1) and they will not let me go full term (am 38 weks) because of the risks. They also knocked back my request for an elective c-section (not hospital policy - St Thomas' London)
Ewe - sounds like you had a very long induction process - and ended up with a c-sec (this is what I figured may happen to me, hence my request for an elective) I don't have a Bishops score - as haven't had that assessment - I am assuming that it wouldn't be so favourable as I am 38 weeks and this is my first baby.
Counting down the days now and still really nervous (scared) but good to read about all the different experiences. If anyone has any further info / advice to add, it's all very welcome.
Thanks again - Lisa x

liahgen Wed 15-Oct-08 12:44:17


They cannot make you be induced. If you would like to chat further, email me

I understand you have GD but that in itself is not medically an emergency, and to insist you be induced at 38 wks when your body is unlikely to be ready for labour may well have a big bearibng on how your labour and birth pans out.

See Aims website

I hope you get the outcome that YOU want.

LisaClapham Wed 15-Oct-08 12:52:07

Thanks for this - just mailed

AnybodyHomeMcFly Wed 15-Oct-08 21:38:39

Hi lisa
I didn't want to be induced either and it was at 37 weeks for a possible Obstetric Cholestasis diagnosis (which did turn out to be correct although we didn't know that at the time). I was very upset about the whole idea as I knew my baby wasn't ready to come out yet. But a doctor explained it to me as "it's better to be doing an intervention while you and baby are well rather than when one of you has gone downhill" which did make sense to me.

I do think that the manner of some consultants makes it feel as though they are doing things for "routine" reasons rather than because it's necessary but because inductions carry their own risk no consultant will advise one lightly imo. That said, they cannot force you and it is your choice all the way along.

What I chose to do (and I had to fight for it) was to keep on having the prostin pessaries rather than the drip +ARM as I wanted things to be as "natural" as poss under the circs - ie the prostin can ripen your cervix for labour and allow your waters to break naturally which is what happened to me eventually. It did take 10 days in hosp for this to happen tho.

The contractions did come on strongly faster than in a natural labour which meant that at one point they started to prep for emergency C-section as baby was getting distressed but I managed to deliver him, with the help of forceps, quickly enough to avoid that. Although tbh during labour, I wouldn't have cared, I just wanted a healthy baby.

Believe me I KNOW the apprehension you are feeling but in retrospect, for me, I now believe that the docs did advise things for the right reasons and I am glad I was induced as the possible outcome with OC is late stillbirth. DS is now 20 months, perfectly healthy and bright as a button and I'm v thankful for that.

Very best of luck

RubyRioja Wed 15-Oct-08 21:44:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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