How can I protect my baby's health and safety if my labor is induced?
- Choose to be induced only for a medical reason. Induction without a medical reason exposes your baby to procedures and drugs that can be risky, without counter-balancing benefits.
- Be as certain as possible that the baby's lungs are fully developed. Babies born before the lungs are fully developed may have serious breathing problems that require respiratory support in an intensive care unit. If you are certain about your estimated due date, waiting until 39 completed weeks of pregnancy is a reliable way to help ensure that the baby's lungs will be developed. If you are not sure of your estimated due date, or your care provider is recommending medically necessary induction before 39 completed weeks, an amniocentesis (using a needle to remove a small amount of amniotic fluid) and testing can estimate lung development. If you need to have labor induced before the lungs are developed, your provider can give you a medication to speed up lung development. Be aware that some babies may still experience respiratory distress or other poor health outcomes even if you take these steps.
- Tell your care provider if your contractions seem to be lasting more than a minute-and-a-half or are coming more often than every 2-3 minutes. These are signs that your uterus may be overstimulated by the medications used to induce labor, and this can decrease the amount of oxygen available for your baby. Your provider can adjust the dose of your medication and try other techniques to allow more oxygen to your baby.