What is Planned Birth?
Generally, labor begins naturally when the time is right. It starts with contractions, as the cervix dilates in preparation for the baby. However, some women will need an induced or planned birth.
As a mom-to-be, it’s good to be informed about this practice and know the advantages and disadvantages of a planned birth.
Induced or planned births happen when a medical specialist uses medication to trigger the start of labor.
Oxytocin or prostaglandin may be used for this purpose. The choice will depend on the state of the woman’s cervix.
This type of procedure generally takes place when birth doesn’t happen naturally or spontaneously.
In a normal pregnancy, doctors will only induce labor if the baby hasn’t been born once the 40 weeks of pregnancy are over.
In these cases, doctors may resort to various techniques to induce contractions and trigger the process of labor.
However, there are some cases in which it’s necessary to induce birth even though the normal gestation period isn’t complete.
This occurs in high-risk pregnancies, when medical intervention is required to induce planned labor.
“This type of procedure generally takes place when birth doesn’t happen naturally or spontaneously once the 40 weeks of pregnancy are over”
This type of planned birth can occur at the best moment for the mother and the baby, as long as all the medical staff are present.
Induced births scheduled for a specific date tend to be more common in private healthcare than in public hospital systems.
Reasons for choosing a planned birth
There are many reasons why doctors may decide to induce birth. Here are some of them:
- When there is a risk of infection within the uterus. This is dangerous to the baby, and often puts the mother at risk, too.
- When the mother’s water has broken. Doctors will wait to see if labor begins spontaneously, but if not, they may decide to induce it.
- When the baby is very large. In this case, medical practitioners may induce birth to avoid a long, drawn-out labor and possible injury to mother and child. This applies only to vaginal birth.
- Although different from an induced vaginal birth, a cesarean section may also be scheduled in advance to avoid harm and possible complications to the mother and the baby.
Other reasons why medical practitioners may induce birth
In addition to the cases above, which are the most frequent reasons for choosing a planned birth, there are other reasons why doctors may need to plan and induce labor.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common factors:
- One reason to induce labor is when the placenta isn’t functioning correctly. This is known as preeclampsia, and is a serious complication that can put the life of both mother and baby in danger. Preeclampsia reduces the flow of blood to the fetus. It can also cause chronic conditions, such as arterial hypertension, gestational diabetes, congestive heart failure or kidney failure. All of these put the health of mother and baby at serious risk.
- Another reason why doctors may decide on an induced birth is an anomaly in the baby’s heart rate.
- It may be necessary to induce labor when there is a delay in the development of the fetus.
- When the amniotic sac doesn’t break and labor doesn’t begin spontaneously, doctors will induce labor.
- Labor may be induced if there is very little amniotic fluid left in the womb, as an alternative to a cesarean.
How is labor induced
There are various methods to start off the process of labor. Which of these is most suitable depends on the state of the mom-to-be’s cervix.
The cervix needs to soften and dilate to make way for the baby. Doctors may prescribe hormones to trigger this process.
Other medical procedures can also help to prepare the cervix for birth.
“There are various methods to start off the process of labor. Which of these is most suitable depends on the state of the mom-to-be’s cervix”
Once this is complete, oxytocin is used to induce labor. This hormone is given intravenously.
Even with medical assistance, however, it can take between 12 and 24 for the cervix to fully dilate in preparation for birth.