Women holding their baby

Induction of Labour

About induced labour

What is an induction?

An induction is a way to start labour. There are many different ways for this to be done and the method is influenced by your specific situation. Examples of these are:

  • Breaking your water
  • Intravenous oxytocin
  • Prostaglandin gel
  • Cervidil
  • Foley induction

Why have an induction?

There are many reasons why your care provider may suggest an induction. Here is a list of some of those reasons:

Maternal Concerns

  • You are experiencing a complication in your pregnancy, for example increased blood pressure.

Baby Concerns

  • It has been 12 hours since your water has broken and you are not in labour.
  • You have broken your water and you are Group B Streptococcus (GBS) positive.
  • You are over 41 weeks pregnant.
  • Your care provider has told you your baby is at risk.

What are the risks?

As with any procedure there are risks with an induction. Some of those risks include:

  • Contracting too frequently
  • Increased risk of Caesarean Section
  • Limiting movement or walking
  • Increase in the use of pain relief medications

Your induction day

On the day of your induction you will be called and given a time to come to the hospital. If the Birthing Unit is busy, your induction may be delayed; the charge nurse will keep in touch with you. The order in which patients are seen is based on the wellbeing of all women being cared for that day.

Once you are seen by a nurse in triage, your nurse will:

  • Ask you some questions about your health and pregnancy.
  • Take routine blood work.
  • Check your baby’s heart rate for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Call the care provider responsible for your care and let them know that you are ready to get started.

When will I be called and where do I go?

M5 Triage, which is located on the 5th floor. The list to call patients in for their induction is changed many times during the day. This is based on how busy the labour floor is and the reason for your induction.

Breaking your water

This method of induction is done if your cervix is dilated or open. You will be admitted into a labour room where your nurse will:

  • Discuss your plan in regard to your labour and delivery experience.
  • Check your baby’s heart rate.
  • Call the care provider responsible for your care and let them know that you are ready to have your water broken.

Intravenous Oxytocin

Once admitted to the Birthing Unit for intravenous oxytocin, your nurse will:

  • Continuously monitor your baby’s heart rate.
  • An intravenous (IV) will be started and oxytocin will be added to help start contractions.

It is possible that your care provider may be able to break your water as well to help stimulate labour.

Foley induction

This method is used when your cervix is not dilated or open. The Foley’s balloon applies gentle and constant pressure on the cervix to assist labour and help with breaking of your water.


Prostoglandins are a hormone like substance used to soften your cervix or change it from firm to soft. This is the first step of early labour.


Cervidil is prostoglandin in the form of a small tab on a string. The insert is placed just behind your cervix, helping it to become softer, thinner and move forward. Once labour has started, your care provider may break your water to further boost labour.

Cervidil can be left in for up to 24 hours and may be repeated once. Some women will be admitted to hospital during this time and some will go home. This will be determined by your care provider based on many factors.

After the cervidil is inserted

  • You and your baby will be monitored for an hour.
  • If you are going home a time to return will be given to you.

Call the Birthing Unit using the number provided, before you come back, to make sure that the unit is not busy and can safely care for you. Emergencies and women in labour will be seen first over women not in labour. We will make every effort to stay on schedule. If you are contracting, you may return to triage without calling first.

Prostin gel

Prostin gel is also used to soften your cervix. It may take up to three doses, each six hours apart. You and your baby will be monitored for an hour. A decision will be made by your care provider to admit you to the hospital or send you home between gel insertions.

When should I come back to the hospital?

You should come back to triage and be assessed if:

  • You have bright red, or other abnormal bleeding.
  • You feel your stomach gets very tight and painful and it remains that way.
  • Your water breaks and the fluid is green.
  • You feel the baby moving less or not at all.
  • You are in labour.Here are some guidelines:
    • Your contractions are painful and increasing in how often they occur.
    • Your contractions do not stop when you are lying down.
    • You require pain relief.

If you require more detailed information about your specific induction, please contact your health-care provider.