3 Reasons to Induce Labor & What to Expect

October 2019

Use this helpful graphic to discover why and how labor induction is done.

For an expectant mother, inducing labor is a little like giving the body a gentle nudge in the right direction. It involves administering medicine or using other methods to start contractions in the uterus that will help get labor underway. In this post, we’ll cover some of the reasons to induce labor and what to expect if your women’s health provider recommends it for you.

One of the reasons to induce labor is that you are overdue.

Reasons to induce labor

  1. Your due date has come and gone

    If you have a healthy pregnancy, it’s your first baby, and you’re carrying only one, you and your women’s healthcare provider may discuss induction if your labor has not begun naturally by 41 weeks. For other women, waiting two weeks after your due date may be more appropriate. Your provider can make the best recommendation for your situation.

  2. Your water has broken, but labor hasn’t started

We all know water breaking as the “movie moment” signaling that the baby’s on their way. But sometimes, your water breaks and then…crickets! Induction can help move you to the next stage.

  1. There are health concerns for you or your baby

Another reason to induce labor is because certain medical conditions may warrant it. These can include uterine infections, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure disorders, various issues with the development of the pregnancy, or something else your provider brings up. Inducing labor can be a way to minimize these risks.

If your women’s health care provider recommends induction, below is a summary of a few methods and what you can expect during labor for each one.

Induction Methods

Before inducing labor, your women’s healthcare provider will do a vaginal exam to check the baby’s position and whether your cervix looks ready for birth, among other things. Once you get the thumbs-up that it’s safe to proceed, your induction will begin.

There are several methods to induce labor, but it’s unlikely that you’ll experience all of them. Your pregnancy practitioner will help decide which one(s) fit your situation best. Below is a description of the methods and what to expect during each one:

Cervical ripening: Your cervix needs to be soft and relaxed to be ready for labor. If this doesn’t happen on its own, your women’s health provider may use a hormone or another tool to “ripen” the cervix. This method could be given the night before or hours before induction begins.

Membrane stripping: Thin membranes connect the amniotic sac to the uterus. If this method is used to induce labor, your provider will sweep a gloved finger across these membranes to trigger the release of natural hormones, which may start contractions.

Rupturing the amniotic sac: This induction method is a manual way to break your water called an amniotomy. Your practitioner will use a tool to make a small hole in the sac of water surrounding your baby to help initiate or progress labor. You might feel a warm “gush” once this is complete.

Intravenous medication: Finally, your pregnancy practitioner may use a medication called Pitocin, which is a synthetic version of oxytocin. Its responsibility is to start or improve your contractions. It’s also fitting that this hormone is often called the “love hormone,” as it can help you bond with your baby.

No matter the reason or method used to induce your labor, your pregnancy practitioner will monitor contractions and vital signs every step of the way.

To learn more about reasons to induce labor and what to expect during labor, schedule an appointment with our doctors, midwives, and women’s health providers today. You can reach us by phone at 920.885.6090 or request an appointment on our website.


This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

Request Appointment

We provide comprehensive women’s health services by appointment only. Same day appointments are often available. To schedule an appointment, click the Submit link below.


Ask A Question

Have a question for the Beaver Dam Women's Health staff? Click the link below to submit your general question. For urgent medical matters, contact us at 920-885-6090 or dial 911.

Ask Now

Meet Our Team

Get to know the health specialists and doctors that make us Beaver Dam's friendliest women's health and pregnancy clinic.

Read More