Not sure what to expect when you get induced? Want to know what happens and what it feels like? Here’s a helpful post all about what moms who were induced wished they had been told before!
When I got induced the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. To be fair, I hadn’t really done a lot of research on the subject, other than typing “how to get this baby out of me” into Google.
I went to the hospital thinking I was in labor only to be told I wasn’t, but got induced anyway because I was past my due date and would probably get induced within the next few days.
With my second baby, I was induced at 39 weeks because of some health concerns. Nothing serious, but I was Strep B positive and because my first baby was born so fast, they wanted to make sure I had enough time to get the antibiotics before my second baby was born. Because the induction was planned and I had been induced before, I felt more prepared because I’d been through it before.
There are a lot of articles online about induction, why you might get induced, and ways people get induced, but there’s not a lot of helpful information on what to expect during the actual process. Which is crazy, because it’s a fairly common thing!
To clarify, this post isn’t about how to decide if you should get induced or what type of induction method is best (because there are other articles you can read for that), it’s more about what it’s like and what to expect when you get induced. So if your doctor has started talking about an induction and you’re worried or have no idea what it will be like, here are some things you can expect when you get induced:
1. An induction might be done due to health concerns or going past your due date. In my case, I was induced with my first two babies, each for one of those reasons. Either way, inductions are not bad! Don’t freak out if your doctor starts to talk about an induction.
2. If your induction is scheduled, you will call in at a certain time to make sure they have a room for you. You may have to push it back a bit because if the labor and delivery floor is full with moms going into labor on their own, you’re not top priority. So just be patient, relax, and know your baby will come out eventually.
3. Morning inductions are the best. I know you may not have a say in whether your induction takes place in the morning or at night, but getting scheduled for a morning induction is awesome. You can go in after a good night’s sleep and be ready for a long day. If you do end up getting scheduled at night, try to take a nap before you go in!
4. You can also feel very put-together when you have a scheduled induction. If your induction is scheduled, you can do your hair and makeup so you feel and look good when you go in to have your baby. I felt much more put-together when I had my second baby than I did my first baby because I wasn’t sure if he was actually coming when I first when in!
5. Eat before you head to the hospital. Once you’re there, you can’t eat. They’ll let you have clear liquids and ice chips and sometimes jello, but no meals. So make sure you eat before you go or you’ll be ravenous!
6. When you get induced you’ll get an IV put into your hand that stays there the whole time. It’s annoying and if you have sensitive skin it’s very uncomfortable. I actually ended up taking my own IV needle out the day after my daughter was born because it was bothering me!
7. Once you’re hooked up to the IV, going to the bathroom is complicated. Go to the bathroom before you get started because otherwise you have to unhook everything and bring the whole IV pole in with you. It’s a mess.
8. The way you’re induced will depend on how dilated you are. If you’re already beginning to dilate, you may just get started on Pitocin right away. If you’re all closed up and your body hasn’t even started getting ready, you may get Prostaglandin (a cervix ripening medicine) inserted to help you start dilating. A foley balloon is another option before starting Pitocin.
9. Induction is slow. It’s definitely not a fast method of having a baby. It can take hours and hours before your baby is born, and it often takes quite a while before labor begins. I’d recommend bringing a book or a movie or some games to stay busy!
10. Pitocin is delivered through an IV. You may have picked up on this from #6, but when you get Pitocin, it’s delivered intravenously via an IV.
11. Pitocin makes your contractions more painful. Speaking as someone who has gone into labor on her own and been induced, the contractions from Pitocin were way worse than contractions from going into labor naturally. It’s a lot of cramping and definitely hurts more with induction.
12. You can still have an epidural-free birth when you get induced. Just because the contractions are more painful doesn’t mean you can’t have your baby without pain medicine. If you’ve prepared for a natural birth and find out you have to be induced, don’t feel discouraged. It’s possible to still have your baby without any pain medicines or even an epidural!
13. If you do want an epidural, get it as soon as you can (or ask for other pain medicine). With my first baby, I wasn’t able to get the epidural as soon as I wanted so they gave me some other pain medicine first. Unfortunately, that made me feel really out of it and throw up a few times. With my second baby, I got my epidural before the pain was too bad, and it made such a big difference. Epidurals are the best!
14. Pitocin can slow dilation while increasing contractions. What this means is that you may have to lower your dosage and then up it again. Contractions that are coming too close together are bad for your baby’s heart rate. So they may have to play with the dosage a little bit before they find the sweet spot (this happened to me!).
15. You have to wear belly monitors when you’re induced. I guess this could vary from hospital to hospital, but both times I was induced I did have to wear the belly monitors pretty much the whole time. I was only able to get up and walk around a little bit, and it wasn’t very much. They just want to make sure your baby is doing okay and your contractions aren’t coming too close together.
16. Sometimes the nurses break your water if it doesn’t break on its own. My water had to be broken both times I was induced, and it is a WEIRD feeling (imagine you’re peeing yourself over and over again in gushes each time you have a contraction). Not a big deal, but just be ready in case it needs to be done!
17. You’ll get pelvic exams a few times to check your dilation/effacement. The nurses will check to see how dilated and effaced you are a few times during the induction process. It’s not super fun, but it will help them know if the medicine is working and it will give you an idea of how things are progressing!
Induction is not as scary or as big a deal as people sometimes make it seem. About 30% of hospital births are medically induced, and if you’re prepared and know what to expect, it can be a good experience! Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have and try to do everything you can to prepare for your baby. When you know what to expect when you get induced, it will go a lot better and you’ll be even more ready to meet your baby! And if you have more questions about what to expect when you have a hospital birth, check out this post!