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Labor Induction and Augmentation - Topic Overview

Augmentation

If active labor has started on its own but contractions have slowed down or completely stopped, steps need to be taken to help labor progress (augmentation). Augmentation will be done when:

  • Active labor has started, but your contractions are weak or irregular or have stopped entirely.
  • You have gone into active labor, but the amniotic sac has not ruptured on its own. In this case, your doctor or nurse midwife may rupture the amniotic sac (amniotomy) to augment labor. If labor still does not progress, oxytocin (Pitocin) may be given to make the uterus contract.
  • Active labor has started and the amniotic sac has ruptured on its own, but labor still is not progressing. Oxytocin (Pitocin) may be given to make the uterus contract.

For some women, laboring in a warm tub or whirlpool (under medical care) helps with a slow labor. This can make augmentation unnecessary.3

If labor fails to progress in spite of membrane sweeping, an amniotomy, oxytocin, or a combination of these measures, delivery by cesarean section may be considered.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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