What Should I Do The Night Before My Induction?
After all the weeks of waiting for the big day when your baby will arrive, it has come to this: your care provider has recommended an induction as the safest way of going into labor rather than waiting for you to go into labor on your own.
When you initially receive this news, accepting this new reality can be a lot to wrap your brain around. You might be apprehensive of what it will feel like, how long it will take, and generally have misgivings about the whole idea of being artificially induced into labor.
It’s natural to feel this way—after all, you probably never experienced this before. The fear of the unknown is always a powerful thing, especially if it’s your first pregnancy and you’re facing the combined unknowns of childbirth on top of an induction procedure.
You undoubtedly have a lot on your mind as you countdown to your induction and are probably wondering what you can do to best prepare yourself for what lies ahead. In a situation such as this where you only have a certain amount of control, it’s good to identify the things that you actually can influence to ensure the best outcome.
Eat A Nutritious Meal
One of the limitations you can expect to encounter at the hospital is food—good, yummy, appetizing food available whenever you want it. If your induction starts with a foley balloon or a cervical softener like Cytotech or Cervidil, you won’t be restricted from eating right away. However, if you are administered Pitocin or an epidural then from that point on you will be put on a diet of clear liquids only.
If labor is a marathon, then you can consider an induction to be a triathlon. It can take significantly longer to get labor started artificially and, as a result, your physical and mental stamina will be put to the test.
Even though your appetite might not be at its peak, you should make a concerted effort to eat as many nutritious meals as you can in the days leading up to your induction. Think along the lines of preparing for a feat of physical endurance—aim to eat lots of carbs and protein in the healthiest variety possible.
If you get a lot of time at the hospital with an unrestricted diet, most hospitals allow food delivery from outside restaurants so you’re not limited to the cafeteria menu. And of course, you can (and should) bring your own healthy snacks to have on hand for a quick bite.
Get Plenty Of Rest
It may sound obvious, but being rested is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The thing about hospitals is it’s uncertain how much sleep you’ll be able to get from the time you check in.
If you’ve ever spent any time in one, you already know that although there’s a bed in your room and the lights can be turned off, it doesn’t mean it’s conducive to uninterrupted sleep. You can expect your nurse to be coming in and out of your room throughout your stay to carry out procedures that are often disruptive. That’s their job and what has to happen, but it doesn’t align well with sleep.
Especially if you’re a light sleeper, you’ll have a difficult time getting more than sporadic cat naps throughout your stay.
If your induction is scheduled first thing in the morning, go to bed as early as you can the night before. Once you’ve packed your bags put on your coziest pjs and lay down. You may not fall asleep right away—it’s similar to trying to sleep the night before you have an early flight to catch.
All the anticipation and, let’s face it, worry might make it hard for your brain to turn off. But eventually, you will drift off and get some sleep, even if it doesn’t come right away. And if your induction is scheduled at night, nap as much as you can throughout the day. Your circadian rhythm is about to be turned on its head anyway, so no matter if you start a day or two early.
Get In The Right Head Space
Getting mentally prepared might be the most challenging thing to achieve but it’s definitely the most important one of them all. Giving birth is an always exercise in surrender, and when labor is induced, the act of surrendering becomes amplified.
You definitely have a lot of say in what happens throughout the induction and should know in advance what procedures you will and won’t consent to, but ultimately you have to get comfortable with your care providers tricking your body into going into labor.
Being patient and flexible about the when and the how of baby being born is the best way to get through it. Finding visualizations that help you remain centered, calm, and confident before your time at the hospital is a great way to prepare yourself. You can continue to listen to them once you’re there to stay in zen mode until baby decides they’re ready to meet you.
The Birth Education Center offers an online Induction 101 Course. Click here for more information.
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