In general, the mother-to-be returns to the maternity ward the day before the outbreak. The midwife makes sure that the anesthesiologist has been seen in consultation, and that all the necessary assessments have been made. Then, she performs an examination of the cervix, then monitors, in order to control the baby’s heartbeat and check whether or not there are uterine contractions.
The next morning, often early, we are taken to the pre-work room for a new monitoring. If the cervix is not “favorable” enough, the doctor or midwife first applies prostaglandins, in the form of a gel, to the vagina, to soften it and promote its maturation.
Then an infusion of oxytocins (a substance similar to the hormone that naturally triggers childbirth) is placed a few hours later. Oxytocin dose can be adjusted throughout labor, to regulate the strength and frequency of contractions.
As soon as the contractions become unpleasant, an epidural is installed. Then the midwife breaks the bag of water to make the contractions more effective and allow the baby’s head to press better on the cervix. Childbirth then proceeds in the same way as a spontaneous childbirth.