Preparing for an Induction: how to feel empowered, centred and strong
Updated: May 19, 2019
In my early years of practicing Chinese Medicine I treated many women for Acupuncture in the hope of establishing labour naturally to avoid a looming induction. We would do acupuncture to help facilitate induction, then stand back and hope for the best.
The years and my own induction experience have shown me that this period of time - the time between knowing an induction is a possible/likely outcome and the birth itself - is about so much more than trying to go into labour naturally.
It is about supporting the outcome no matter which path is eventually taken. It's about realising that for the large majority of women who find themselves in this position, the desired outcome isn't necessarily to go into labour naturally, but to have an empowering birth experience.
And now, with many many more of these treatments under my belt and with my own 42 week gestation birth induction story I can say - absolutely - a birth that's induced for true medical need can still be a sacred and empowering experience.
Birthing my daughter taught me so.
There are plenty of reasons for medically necessary inductions. If that's the way the cards have fallen for you, that's okay.
But know this: even as an induction date looms so much can be done to step towards an empowered birth experience. Whether an induction is ultimately required or not.
Let's explore some ideas that you can influence to help step towards your beautiful birth.
Between now and the planned induction date
Let your To Do List go
It can be really tempting to busy yourself with surface To Do's - and gosh, aren't there a lot of them when you're preparing for a babe!
But the work, for you, is much deeper. And it starts now.
If you're only a few days away from a planned induction, outsource any last minute baby related tasks. Now is the time to release and let go of that To Do List and the cerebral thinking that comes with it.
Acknowledge the way you feel
Identify and acknowledge any particular sources of stress, anxiety, uncertainty and the unknowns you feel about this birth. Give them space. Allow them to bubble up, then let them go.
Birth focused meditations can be bought and downloaded online - this is the meditation I had on repeat leading up to my induction to release the fears I was holding around the idea of an induction. And also to nut out the specific things that I was afraid of.
Fill your body and your mind with things that make you feel calm, centred, relaxed, open and strong
Follow the path of things that help you feel calm, centred and strong.
That will look different for everyone.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Go for lunch with your best friend. Have a bath. Go to the ocean. Meditate. Gently stretch and move your body. Read a novel. Watch a movie. Take a nap. Light a candle. Start a creative project: paint, draw, knit or sew. Take a mindful walk and feel into your senses: look at the colour of the leaves, hear the birds, smell the wet grass.
Whatever feels to connect you deeply into that delciously calm, clear headspace.
Recognise sources of stress and let them go
Prevent interaction with anyone that feeds any anxieties you may have about an upcoming birth and possible induction.
And know that every single woman I have treated as they approach labour feels a sense of suffocation from the tie that exists to her phone. The constant 'Are you in labour?' 'Are you okay?' is unsettling - women feel that there is something wrong and begin to question their abilities before labour even begins.
So, lovely humans, this is a time for highly selective human interactions and phones on silent or voicemail divert.
Reframe what you think you know about inductions & make plenty of space for positive thoughts
Read and listen to positive induction stories and podcasts.
I have shared mine here for that very specific reason.
This will help reaffirm that even though an induced labour can be hard, you are capable. So so capable. And it is absolutely possible to have an empowering induction experience.
This is the meditation I listened to (and often slept through!) for the second half of my pregnancy. It helped me lean further into the glorious possibility of it all.
Define what's important to you about your labour experience
Think about the things that were important to you for your labour experience, and consider ways in which you might still be able to apply them in an induction setting.
For me, I was keen to do early labour in my backyard - to breathe fresh air and be out in nature. Of course, in an induction, this was not possible, so I stopped on the way to the hospital and took my time to get my nature fill.
On the way into the hospital to begin the induction process
Stop at a park and breathe in the beauty. The fresh air. Find a way to ground yourself. Look around at how nature effortlessly thrives. Walk with bare feet. Take deep breaths. Ground yourself.
Once you're in hospital for the induction
Get really clear about the process
This will help put your mind at ease.
Learn what's flexible and what's fixed.
Explore the potential for time between interventions.
Explore the positive actions you can take along the way - walking around, shower, stretches.
Once you're clear on the logistics you can rest cerebral thinking and get to the heart centred business of birthing.
Make all the waiting purposeful
Also know, when it comes to an induction, there can be a lot of waiting.
A lot a lot a lot a lot of waiting.
Waiting for rounds. Waiting for a plan. Waiting for someone to break your waters. Waiting.
So use that time purposefully to...
Create a sacred environment for turning inward towards labour
One huge benefit to this only occurred to me in hindsight looking back at my induction experience.
When you set a calm, focused and intentional sacred tone for the space, any person that walks into your space will be responsive to that, and meet you there. People don't ask unnecessary questions. There is no unnecessary chat.
Things are slower, quieter and more respectful because you have created and facilitated that depth and quiet and slow.
So, intentionally create your space.
Close curtains, dim lights. Resist the urge to stay on the surface. Put your phone away. Ask your partner to do the same. Leave the TV off. Close your eyes. Slow your breath. Meditate. Listen to music. Reground any anxieties, fears.
Just you. In your space. In your breath. Creating your experience.
Channel your excitement into deep strength. Don't waste it on instagram.
I will be honest with you, this part is not as easy as it may sound.
Choosing to sink in, rather than remain on the surface is not an easy thing.
We are wired to value 'doing something at all times' - so intentionally slowing down and turning inward requires stepping outside those cultural and societal norms.
And I remember feeling really challenged by that.
But it is so so worth it.
The greatest work is always on the inside.
Lean into your courage - your Induction Courage.
Lean in, sink deep.
Oh beauty. You have got this.
These are gentle suggestions. The most important thing is to follow what works best for you. I will be sharing the story of how I specifically navigated the days preparing for and stepping towards my own induced birth experience soon. After all, it was the divine preparation in those days that were the catalyst for all these suggestions.