Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Overdue pregnancy and induction

Overdue pregnancies: Pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks, which is approximately 280 days from the first day of your last period. Most women will go into labor within a week either side of this date.
If your labor does not start by 41 weeks, your midwife will offer you a ‘membrane sweep’. This involves having a vaginal examination, which stimulates the neck of your uterus (known as the cervix) to produce hormones which may trigger natural labor.
If your labor still doesn’t start, your midwife or doctor will suggest a date to have your labor induced (started off). If you don’t want labor to be induced and your pregnancy continues to 42 weeks or beyond, you and your baby will be monitored. Your midwife or doctor will check that both you and your baby are healthy by giving you ultrasound scans and checking your baby’s movement and heartbeat. If your baby is showing signs of distress, your doctor and midwife will again suggest that labor is induced.
Labor induction   
Labor can be induced if your baby is overdue or there is any sort of risk to you or your baby’s health – for example, if you have high blood pressure or if your baby is failing to grow and thrive. Induction is always planned in advance, so you will be able to talk over the benefits and disadvantages with your doctor and midwife and find out why they recommend your labor is induced.
Contractions are usually started by inserting a pessary or gel into the vagina, and sometimes both are used. Induction of labor may take a while, particularly if the neck of the uterus (the cervix) needs to be softened with pessaries or gels. Sometimes a hormone drip is needed to speed up the labor. Once labor starts it should proceed normally, but it can sometimes take 24–48 hours to get you into labor.

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