We are not supporting this browser


      What if I have to be induced?


      Inducing labour

      Whilst you'll most likely begin labour naturally between 37 and 41 weeks, it's worth finding out about inducing labour just in case your baby is overdue, or if induction is recommended for another reason. If you know all the options, you'll feel more relaxed about what's going on should you need to be induced. Don't worry, once the induction begins, labour will usually progress quickly. If you still have any questions after reading through this info, speak to your healthcare professional or give our team a call.

      Reasons for inducing labour

      There are a number of common reasons for being induced:

      • Your waters may have broken but your contractions might not have started
      • There may be complications with your pregnancy and your baby needs to be born sooner rather than later
      • You may simply be long past your due date
      Pregnancy yoga

      What happens when you are induced?

      Healthcare professionals can induce childbirth in many ways. They will support you through the process and keep talking to you so it's important you let them know how you're feeling. Your breathing exercises will help you too. Remember that once they've induced labour, things might progress pretty quickly so be prepared! On the other hand, it can sometimes take a couple of days to get moving: so don't panic if nothing happens immediately.

      The list below will tell you more about the various ways of inducing labour:

      Membrane sweep - also known as a 'stretch and sweep', this is much like an internal examination. Your healthcare professional will sweep your cervix with their finger and the aim is to separate the cervix from the sac/membranes to help the release of your prostaglandin hormones. If successful, labour will usually start within 24-48 hours. This doesn't always work the first time, so don't worry if it's not successful. In most cases, an additional membrane sweep will be offered at a later date, allowing enough time for your cervix to soften.

      Breaking your waters - If your cervix has started to dilate, your waters are usually broken using a long thin instrument. This is to encourage contractions but is not 100% guaranteed.

      Prostaglandin- A hormone that stimulates labour, prostaglandin can be used as a gel or pessary placed at the neck of your womb.

      Syntocinon - Given through a drip, syntocinon can kick-start some quite intense contractions so you may want to consider an epidural. It's often done in conjunction with breaking your waters.

      If you'd like further advice on inducing labour, why not give our Careline experts a call on 1800 570 570, Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 5.30pm or chat to us online.

      Any more questions?

      Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us or reach us on Live Chat 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.

      Join the C&G baby club today

      Join the C&G baby club today

      • Weekly emails with tips and advice for your stage
      • 1-to-1 support from our dedicated Careline team, 8.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
      Join us now

      More from pregnancy

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.