Inducing Labor in Late Pregnancy
A pitocin induction of labor is used in late pregnancy to initiate labor. Different methods may be used to soften the cervix prior to the use of pitocin for labor induction. The different methods of medical induction of labor in pregnancy are discussed, including risks and benefits of each.In an increasing number of pregnancies, labor is induced, or started, medically. The most common reasons include:
How often is labor induced?The rate of pitocin induction changes dramatically from one site to another; and even from one part of the week to another.
In general, the national labor induction rate is around 40%.
Risk and Benefits of Pitocin Induction
Benefits of Inducing Labor
Risks of Inducing Labor
Is the Cervix Ready for Induction?
Bishop Score of Cervical ReadinessPrior to a pitocin induction, the condition of the cervix is evaluated during a pelvic exam. The Bishop Score is a measurement that is done to assess the readiness of the cervix for dilation.
It is similar to the Apgar score of newborns done at birth in that it also assesses five different criteria. These are:
Use of Bishop Score in Pitocin InductionIf the Bishop score is eight or higher, the cervix is considered ready for induction. Current guidelines would use pitocin as the only induction agent with a cervix having a score of eight or higher.
With a score lower than seven, the cervix is not ready for induction of labor. There is a higher chance of having a failed induction with a cesarean in those cases.
IV PitocinPitocin is the synthetic form of the human hormone oxytocin which is responsible for uterine contractions. Pitocin is used both to induce labor in a non-laboring woman and to augment contractions in a woman whose labor is not progressing as quickly as desired.
Pitocin is administered through an intravenous pump.
Risks of Pitocin
Pitocin Induction or AugmentationFortunately, most labors will be neither preterm nor postdates. But even when labor starts “on time” there may be instances when labor progression is slow.
In those situations, contractions are often augmented with pitocin.
Alternatives to Medical Induction of LaborNot all mothers wish to have their labors induced or augmented by medical procedures. They frequently ask what they can do to enhance their contractions and the likelihood of a labor that progresses efficiently and naturally.
Check back for more information on ways to avoid labor inductions.
By Karen Newell Copyright 2003 - 2012 Better Childbirth Outcomes - All Rights Reserved
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA