Techniques to Trigger Contractions

If your cervix is partially dilated yet labor is not progressing, your health care provider may choose to try to trigger your contractions. There are two main methods used to trigger contractions.

Breaking The Waters

In order to induce contractions and labor, your health care provider may decide to break your waters. Your baby is contained in a sac filled with fluids. Known as the amniotic sac, this sac can be ruptured in order to force labor.

To do this, a thin, plastic hook is inserted into your cervix. This hook is then used to poke a hole in your amniotic sac, allowing your waters to rush out of your vagina.

Many women find that this procedure is uncomfortable, however, it is very effective at triggering labor. This is because, once the amniotic sac has ruptured, your body releases prostaglandins and oxytocin, hormones that help to trigger labor.

There are some risks associated with this technique, though. If too much time elapses between the procedure and labor, there is a possibility of infection. The technique can also increase your risk of experiencing intense contractions during labor.


Oxytocin is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body during labor. It helps to stimulate contractions and allows labor to progress. However, this hormone is also available in synthetic form and can be administered by your health care provider thereby inducing labor.

It is given intravenously and the amount is adjusted every 15 to 30 minutes, in order to maintain the proper pace of labor. Oxytocin is often used in combination with a prostaglandin gel in order to induce labor.

This IV medication is associated with some risks, though, especially strong labor contractions. If your labor contractions become too strong, they can deprive your baby of oxygen, causing fetal distress. However, your health care provider will continuously monitor you and your baby for any complications if you are receiving oxytocin.

Who Shouldn't Have Labor Induced?
Labor induction is not recommended for all expectant moms. Sometimes labor induction can cause health complications for either you or your baby.

Typically, labor induction is not performed if you are suffering from:

Additionally, labor is typically not induced if you are expecting triplets or higher order multiples, have had two or more cesarean sections, or if you have had previous uterine surgery.

Recommended Link
Was your labor induced or are you considering inducing labor when the time comes? Visit Pregnancy Stories to share your reasons for choosing to induce labor and help other women learn more about all their options when giving birth.


Table of Contents
1. Medically Inducing Labor
2. Getting labor going
3. Trigger contractions
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