Oxytocin

We are having our baby in France. My wife is now nearing the end of her 41st week. She is due to be induced in 4 or 5 days. Her cervix is dilated to 2/3 fingers and the baby is presenting well according to the midwife here. However we are concerned that they will induce her by an oxytocin drip. Apparently this is standard practice in France. The doctors at the hospital claim it is the best method. We have read otherwise. That the strong and closely spaced contractions cause a greater reduction in the blood supply to the placenta/ uterus than in a normal delivery. Is this a serious risk?

What are the other methods of induction and how do the risks associated with those methods compare with the risks using oxytocin. We understand that prostaglandin pessaries are used commonly in the States and England. Is this method safer? What precautions/actions can we take to minimize any fetal distress if we are forced to use oxytocin drip?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Try not to worry about oxytocin induction. Obviously, it would be preferable for her to have spontaneous labor but postmaturity can be very hazardous to a baby. I'm not sure if they use prostaglandin gel in France but placing this in the cervix the evening before induction often is enough to start labor and if not it prepares the cervix for induction.

Oxytocin is started slowly and because the labor is monitored, the contractions are never allowed to get closer together than her own labor would. The IVs and the monitor do keep her a bit less mobile but sometimes induced labor is for the best.

Before the induction is begun, intermittent nipple stimulation can be done in the hospital while she is on the monitor. This liberates her own natural oxytocin so it must be considered just as much an induction as if she had IVs.

Make sure she is well rested before coming to the hospital, well fed and hydrated. Periodically, she should get "disconnected" and be allowed up and to walk, maybe even take a shower. Try to keep her off her back, on her side or sitting up to minimize risk of the uterus compressing the vena cava.

I hope all goes well. Thanks,
Peg

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