Has your doctor or midwife brought up the possibility of having an induction with you? There are several reasons why an induction may be indicated, from being overdue, to having a health condition that makes it safer for you and your baby to deliver earlier. While it’s not essential to have an epidural if you are having an induction, many people find contractions during inductions more intense, so often people opt for an epidural during an induction.

You can do many things, whether you have an epidural or not, to make your induction a positive experience. Our doulas have lots of experience helping with inductions, and here are some of our favourite tips.

Tips for Inductions:

  • Eat something high in protein and carbohydrates before you come into the hospital. Once you are on the IV and pitocin pump you can only have clear fluids.
  • Beyond water, you can have apple juice and gingerale, which are usually in the fridge of the hospital ward. You can bring freezies, popsicles, or jello. Red raspberry leaf tea is a great option for sipping during labour as it is said to strengthen the muscles of the uterus, which in turn can strengthen your contractions. Beef/chicken/veggie broth can be comforting and trick your tummy into feeling fuller. Honey sticks are great as they are easy to transport and can give you a quick boost of carbs to get your blood sugar up. Note: we do not recommend orange juice or oranges as they are not a clear liquid and make many labouring people nauseous.
  • Try to rest when they first hook you up to the IV pump. Cuddle with your partner, watch a movie on your phone or have a nap.
  • Once you feel the contractions, get moving and use upright positions.
  • A TENS machine can be a huge help to avoid or prolong an epidural. Note: don’t press the “boost” button on the TENS machine if you have a fetal heart monitor on. Learn more about our TENS machine rentals HERE
  • Do what you can to get your oxytocin to flow as much as possible – be close to your partner, massage, dim the lights, smell some relaxing scents, or put on a playlist that you love. The more your own oxytocin kicks in, the easier it is to handle the Pitocin.
  • If you are hoping to avoid an epidural, use a TENS machine and have a bath if you are able.
induction birth

Epidural Positions and Tips

These are some great positions to try if you have an epidural:

  • Semi-reclined: Opening your legs butterfly-style will keep your pelvic opening wide, giving the baby more room to wiggle down.
  • Side-lying: Flip from side to side every hour. A peanut ball helps keep your pelvic opening wide. It also allows you to rest and gives access to your back for massage.
  • Pushing: You can use a mirror during pushing to help direct your pushes more effectively.

You Got This!

Whether you have an induction or not, or have an epidural or not, there are so many things you can do to feel empowered during your birth. Check out our full lineup of Prenatal Classes to boost your confidence, and reach out to explore other ways we can help!