Being induced for the first time wasn’t ever an option I thought about during my first pregnancy.
There are so many unknowns that go along with being pregnant. Especially during your first pregnancy.
Since literally everything is new!
When it comes time for delivery you may be surprised if your doctor starts to introduce the possibility of being induced for the first time.
I know I was!
That’s why I wanted to share with you the 11 Important Things I would have loved to know before being induced for the first time.
I want you to have the most positive labor experience possible.
So, my goal with this information is to help you feel prepared, encouraged and empowered!
Because yes, it is all new and unusual but you are going to do great and you’ve totally got this (even if you don’t feel like it right now)!!
Ok, let’s educate ourselves on what you can expect during an induction.
When we have knowledge it can help take away the fear.
No fear Mama, just confidence!
Let’s get started by talking about…
*But first, I want to acknowledge that I am not a medical professional or a doctor. These are my experiences and things that I would have appreciated knowing during my first induction. Some affiliate links are included at no extra cost to you. I will never recommend anything that I do not use and believe in.*
Why would my doctor induce my labor for the first time?
You may be wondering, “why would my doctor push an induction?”
Well, there are a lot of different reasons your doctor may recommend being induced for the first time or for following pregnancies. I’m going to make a list below.
I have been induced three times now and all were because I was past 40 weeks pregnant.
Reasons Your Doctor May Want to Induce Labor:
- Your pregnancy has gone past 40 weeks and the supply of nutrients in your uterus are decreasing.
- If your labor doesn’t begin after your water breaks.
- When there is an infection in the uterus.
- If there is not longer enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.
- When the placental peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.
- If you have certain medical conditions of the heart, lungs or kidneys.
- When you develop high blood pressure in combination with signs of damage to another organ system.
Like I said, I’m not a doctor or a nurse. I’m a fellow mom trying to help another mom.
Now that you know the reasons an induction may take place. Let’s talk about what it being induced for the first time means.
What does being induced for the first time mean?
If your doctor says they want to induce you. It simply means that they want to prompt your body to start labor.
So, they will be using medically induced methods to put you in labor.
When my doctor recommended an induction during my first pregnancy. I was about to be 41 weeks. I had not dilated at all and my body was showing no signs of labor.
So basically, my body and baby were like, no thank you.
We are good. We have no interest in labor.
But, my amniotic fluid was running low and it was no longer safe for my baby to be in utero.
It was a tough decision to agree to being induced for the first time.
Being induced is not how I pictured going into labor (or being put into labor).
I dreamed about that moment of contractions starting at home and frantically telling my husband to get the bags ready.
It is important to give yourself some time to mourn the labor you thought you’d have.
You’ll probably also get a lot of opinions from friends and family telling you what you should do. Or why an induction is good or bad.
Remember, ultimately it is up to YOU. Follow your heart and do what is best for your baby and you.
The goal is to get your baby here safely and in your arms.
Try to tune everyone else out. You know what to do.
Now you know why you may be recommended to get an induction and what an induction is.
Let’s get to the real stuff.
11 things I would have absolutely LOVED to have known before Being Induced for the First Time:
1) Your Voice Matters-
Doctors and nurses are amazing, they are knowledgable, we need them.
BUT, they do this for a living.
They forget what it’s like to be the patient on the other end of the prognosis or recommendation.
So, speak up!
If you don’t want to get an induction. Tell them! See what you can do to have the labor that you want. That is within means and safe of course.
Even if that means modifying your original expectation.
If you don’t know what an induction is or why your doctor wants you to have one.
Ask! Ask every single question you have.
I wish I would have asked more about what to expect during an induction.
Instead I went in blind (and scared).
Therefore, I felt like I did not have a voice or a say in my labor or what was going on around me.
I don’t want that for you.
So, use your voice.
The time to ask the questions is before the procedure begins when you’re in your doctors office.
And hopefully if you didn’t get them answered then.
You are now.
You’re going to see a theme throughout these suggestions of using your voice.
Because you are your own advocate!
2) When Being Induced For the First Time I wish I would have known all the different method they were going to use to throw my body into labor.
Yes, I said different methods (plural). I am going to list all the different method used to get my cervix ready and then start contractions.
In my case, like I mentioned before, during my first labor my body was showing no signs of labor.
So, they had to push my body A LOT to begin labor.
If you are already dilated some, they mostly likely will not have to do as many of these methods on you.
They will be closely monitoring you and baby’s heart rate during this procedures to make sure everyone is safe. This means you’ll be hooked up to monitoring machines.
When the nurse is prepping you she will insert an IV into your hand so they’ll have a line ready when they need it for later procedures.
My advice to you is to not look when she is inserting the IV. Especially if you are not a fan of niddles.
All of these are the ones done to me during my first induction.
Ask your doctor the plan for your induction, so you know ahead of time!
Method 1- Use a Prostaglandins:
This is when they insert a type of prostaglandins into your cervix to try to start dilation.
This is only needed if you are not dilated on your own yet. I did not need this in my other two inductions.
But, I do want you to be prepared for what this is if you do need it.
The nurse inserts this into your cervix and it doesn’t feel awesome.
They ended up doing two rounds of this on me because my body did not respond to the first round. I personally think the nurse did not put it in right, but that’s just my opinion.
Method 2 – Insert a Foley Bulb
If you’re anything like me. You’re thinking foley what?!
I had never heard of this in my life!
A Foley Bulb is used during induction when your cervix needs more help dilating.
Here’s how it works.
- The nurse will insert the Foley Bulb into your cervix. The Foley Bulb is basically a catheter with a balloon on the end.
- Once it’s in place they’ll inflate it with a saline solution.
- They’ll start to inflate it or fill it with the solution in attempts to start dilating your cervix.
But, you may not need this if you are already dilating.
I was not dilated at all and they had to use all the methods on me to get my body laboring.
Method 3 – Sweep the Membranes
This is also knowns and stripping your membranes.
If you were alreayd dilated before they started induction your doctor may be able to do this in her/his office.
Again, I was not dilated at all until they gave me the prostaglandins and inserted the foley bulb.
They do this by sweeping a gloved finger over the cover of the amniotic sac near the fetus.
The goal is to separate the sac from the cervix in attempts to start labor.
Method 4 – Pitocin
This is when the IV comes in handy. The nurse will hook up Pitocin to your IV and start to slowly administer it to your veins.
The Pitocin is a hormone that causes the uterus to contract. So, it helps with speeding up contractions and dilation.
This is when I started feeling a lot of pain with contractions. I have been told contractions brought on my Pitocin are stronger than naturally occurring contractions.
I would totally believe that!
Looking back I was not equipped at all with any of the tools I needed to handle such strong contractions. Instead I just pretty much hyperventilated.
I had taken a labor course from my hospital. It was fine but I don’t feel like they prepared me for an induction.
For my second and third pregnancy I found The Mommy Labor Nurse!
She is a real labor and delivery nurse and she’s so relatable and amazing. If you don’t follow her on IG, you should. There are so many helpful tips I picked up just by following her.
There are three labor Birth It Up courses she offers:
I took The Natural Series because I had high hopes. But, she also touched on epidural information during this course. Just in case you decide to have one last minute (and I did).
If you do decide to take one of these courses and I totally recommend you do!
You can get 10% off the price by using code ABOVEDIRT for any of them.
Having the tools to be able to breathe through contractions was an absolute game changer for my second and third pregnancies.
Method 4 – Rupturing Your Amniotic Fluid
Also knowns as breaking your water. Your doctor or nurse will make a small hole in your amniotic sac causing your water to break.
The goal is to once again help labor to go forward.
Few, that was a-lot!
I want to remind you that not all of these method may not need to be used on you.
But, you should ask!!
I did not know until they were happening and it was a very helpless feeling.
I want you to go into your labor knowing what to expect and the methods that will be or could possibly be used on you to induce your labor.
3) Movement Matters When Being Induced for the First Time
You can still get up and move when being induced!
I did not know this until I took The Mommy Labor Nurse class.
When I tell you this was freeing I want you to picture Jack and Kate at the front of the Titanic screaming, “I’m flying!”
Knowing I could MOVE was mentally and physically incredibly helpful during my following inductions.
However, it will be harder to move because you’re hooked up to so many machines that are monitoring you and your baby.
But, it is possible!
During my first induction. I was not able to move at all for 28 hours!!
Because I got an epidural when I was not even one centimeter dilated.
I was in so much pain from all the methods they were using to kick start labor. Plus, like I mentioned, I had no idea how to handle this pain.
So, I asked for an epidural very early and they gave it to me. I think they were afraid not to since my inability to handle this depth of pain was very obvious!
But, the epidural meant that I was not longer able to move and labor was just beginning.
Any “movement” that my body experienced was from the nurses propping up my hips with pillows to get my baby to move from one side to the other when his heart rate starting dropping.
For second and third labors, when I was also induced, I asked to MOVE!!
Since I was more empowered from the labor classes I took.
Like I said in the beginning, knowledge helps take away fear!
The nurses had no problem with it. They just showed me how to maneuver all the cords.
If they cords happened to fall off or get out of place. I would call them into readjust.
So, even if you are being induced, you can still move!
Movement helps the baby get into position better.
The way you move plays a huge role in your babies positioning and engaging your baby in labor.
It helps speed up labor and it help you manage pain better.
I learned a lot more about movement and positioning during labor after I took Mommy Labor Nurse’s birthing class.
It made a 100% difference in my following two inductions. (I know I’m talking about her a lot but honestly I would kiss her face if I could. She made my following labors a 180 experience from my first.)
In my opinion movement is a huge way to make labor induction easier
4) Delay Your Epidural (if you can)
I know epidurals are a hot button and you do what you think is best.
I chose to get an epidural for all three of my labors.
In Mommy Labor Nurses birth classes she teaches you how to prepare for labor with an epidural and without an epidural.
Through my experiences with induction I do believe being induced makes contractions come on faster and stronger than they would if they naturally occurred.
Like I mentioned, during my first induction, I got an epidural when I was barely one centimeter dilated.
I had a long way to go since you need to be 10 centimeters dilated before I could start pushing.
Getting an epidural so soon meant that labor slowed down and I was no longer able to move.
Looking back at it. I wish someone had told me what getting an epidural so soon meant for my labor.
I would recommend waiting as long as you can before you get an epidural.
Because remember, you can’t move after you do.
They are amazing though. When I got one during my second labor it was such a feeling of huge relief that went over my body.
Everyone reacts differently to epidurals, so just be sure to educate yourself on them before you get one.
The details of what goes on during an epidural are a little scary.
But, knowledge is power!
5) You Can Request a Nurse Change
It’s your labor. Don’t be afraid to hurt someones feelings.
This coming from an extreme people pleaser (haha).
But seriously, when my induction began, I was placed with a nurse who acted like she did not give a flying flip about me.
That’s why I feel like she didn’t put the prostaglandins in correctly. Because she actually verbalized it when she was fist deep into my cervix. Lovely, right?!
I wish I would have spoken up for myself. I did not feel comfortable with her and I should have said that.
If you get a nurse that makes you feel like you are not being taken care of or like she doesn’t exactly know what she/he is doing.
You can request another nurse!
You do not have to suffer through the entire nursing shift until you get a new nurse.
When her shift was over and then I got another nurse.
That changed EVERYTHING! I felt heard, taken care of, like she cared, all the things you should feel from a nurse.
So, vocalize what you need.
6) Contractions May Be Stronger
I’m including this because I wish someone would have told me that Pitocin can make your contractions strong than they would be for naturally occurring contractions.
I was zero percent equipped to handle these contractions during my first induction.
Despite the fact that I took a labor class from the hospital. In this class they did not talk about inductions or how to handle contractions from Pitocin.
Another reason I was so incredibly grateful I found her education before my second and third labor.
The was she teaches to breathe really helped me manage my pain far better than I was able to during my first induction.
Being prepared with the tools you need will help you manage your pain far better.
7) Ask for Equipment You Need
As long as you have not had an epidural yet, you can use tools.
Like a yoga ball or peanut.
And, THEY HELP!!
The positions that Mommy Labor Nurse teaches in regards to these two resources was life changing for my following births.
They can help manage pain and also help your baby get in optimal positioning for labor.
Two very good things!
8) You Can’t Eat When Being Induced
Your doctor probably already told you this but just in case they did not.
Please go into your induction knowing you will not be able to eat during it.
The reason is that they need for you to be prepare for an emergency C-section if one were to occur.
They did bring me a popsicle after my changes of having a C-section went down.
And it was the most amazing popsicle I’ve ver had in my life!
9) A C-Section is a Possibility
All of the methods I mentioned above can cause the baby’s or your heart rate to change. If the heart rate gets too slow or fast for either of you an emergency c-section will take place.
Here are some other reasons a C-section may take place:
- Heart rate changes for you or baby.
- If you’re having a very long labor and it’s not progressing how the doctor wants it to.
- Baby’s position may change and cause a need for a C-section
- Exhaustion could set in and you just can’t labor anymore.
- If they notice a tangle umbilical cord.
This is not meant to scare you but just to inform you that a C-section is a possibility. This is yet again something I did not know.
The nurses all ran in at one point during my labor and they were about to wheel me off for a C-section.
But, my doctor walked in and told everyone to stop! She monitored the heart rate for what felt like five minutes. Then she said, she’s ok!
So, just reiterating that the need for a C-section can come on very quickly.
Talk to your doctor (before labor starts) to see his/her view on C-sections.
Some doctors tend to go toward C-sections faster than others.
10) It May Take a While
I do remember asking my doctor, “How long does induction take for first time moms?” and getting a very vague answer.
Probably because she didn’t want me to feel defeated.
But, from my experience the first time being induced could take a lot longer than your following inductions (if you have them).
Here is how long it took each time I was induced:
- First labor induction took 28 hours.
- Second time being induced labor lasted 12 hours.
- Third time being induced took 9 hours.
How long it takes to be induced depends on how prepared your body is before the induction starts.
If you’re like me and your body is not showing any signs of labor on its own.
Mostly likely your induction will be longer. So, just try to be mentally prepare for that.
I wish I would have been.
But, if your cervix is already dilating and you’re having some contractions on your own or your body has shown any other signs of labor.
Your induction could be much shorter, like my following labors.
11) Ask Your Partner for Help
This is HUGE!!
And don’t be surprised if things that wouldn’t normally bother you , bug the ever living stuff out of you!!
Mommy Labor Nurse shares a list of encouraging things that your partner could say to you during labor.
p.s. I made this HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST for you so you can take something off your to-do list! It includes what you’ll need for mom, dad and baby! Plus, it’s editable in case you want to add anything!
She also has a whole section designated to getting your partner ready for labor because they need to be informed too!
My husband and I went over this list before my labor and it made such a huge difference in my following labors.
It was good for both of us because can you imagine seeing someone you love in so much pain and you don’t know who to help them?
With the lessons and the plans that she lays out. They can go into labor as knowledgable as you are.
They know how they can help you and what to say!
After reading this I hope that being induced for the first time doesn’t feel as scary as it once did.
You have totally got this!! I mean it!
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