Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Labor Induction

A labor induction procedure can help labor start or progress

Our San Antonio OBGYNs may use labor induction to help patients bring on, or induce, labor and contractions. There are a variety of medical reasons for performing the procedure.

Medical reasons for labor induction

In virtually every case, labor induction occurs for medical reasons.

  • The pregnancy lasts for 41 weeks or longer.
  • The amniotic sac breaks but contractions do not start.
  • There is a uterine infection.
  • The mother’s medical issue puts the mom and the baby at risk.
  • There are issues with the baby’s growth rate or fluid levels.

Methods for inducing labor

Our San Antonio OBGYNs employ four different types of labor induction, depending on the reasons for the procedure and the timing.

  • Stripping or sweeping the membranes is a method to help speed up the start of spontaneous labor. This is usually an in-office procedure. Using a gloved finger, the physician separates the membranes that connect the amniotic sac to your uterus. This may cause spotting, bleeding or cramping.
  • Ripening the cervix is a labor induction method that is usually performed in the hospital using medications or medical devices. Your physician will administer prostaglandin, a synthetic medication, such as cytotec or cervidil, or a device that mechanically helps the cervix dilate.
  • Breaking your water (amniotic sac) is a simple method for inducing labor that is performed in the hospital. Our OBGYNs make a small opening in the amniotic sac with a special instrument. This procedure may be recommended if you are already dilated and the baby has moved head down deep into the pelvis.
  • Synthetic oxytocin, or Pitocin, can be used for labor induction. It’s administered to the mother in an IV. The medication is a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions. It can help women whose labor is not progressing.

In most cases, all these labor induction methods lead to a vaginal birth. If you need a cesarean section, you will require extra care during and after your delivery.

Risks of inducing labor

Our San Antonio OBGYNs work diligently to ensure that your labor and delivery are safe. However, labor induction does create certain risks which is why we try to limit inductions to medical reasons to balance risk benefit ratio to both mom and baby. When inductions are recommended it is because the risks of the following are less than the risk to either mom or baby of continuing the pregnancy. Our goal is always a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

  • Increased risk for a C-section
  • May cause accelerated uterine contractions
  • May pose an increased risk for infection
  • Increased risk for umbilical cord prolapse (when the umbilical cord falls into the vagina during delivery)
  • In rare circumstances, there is a risk for uterine rupture.

When you choose our San Antonio OBGYNs for your obstetrics care, you are putting the health of yourself and your baby in experienced, caring hands. To learn more, contact us.