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Rotherham midwives and doctors bring new options for pregnant women

26 Mar 2019 13:50:31
Balloon inductions

Midwives and doctors at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust were the first in the region (South Yorkshire) to be offering a new method of labour induction for pregnant women.

An induced labour is one that's started artificially. It's fairly common with 1 in 5 labours being induced in the UK. Sometimes labour can be induced if baby is overdue or if there is any concern for mother or baby's health.

Since September 2018, Maternity Services at Rotherham Hospital have been offering balloon inductions. This is a new and more convenient alternative to a pessary. The pessary is a more frequently used method of inducing labour and means women have to stay in hospital.

Following examination, women who are suitable are now offered this new method with a thorough explanation of what the procedure entails: A small tube with a deflated balloon on it is passed through the neck of the womb and then inflated with a small amount of water. The pressure on the neck of the womb aims to open it up and help labour begin.

With less hormones involved, the balloon induction has meant that so far, around 40% of women have been able to go home and do their normal activities with the balloon in place. The balloon stays in place for 24 hours and has so far been found to work as well as the pessary.

Sue Rutter, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Rotherham Hospital, said: “There are a number of potential benefits for women who choose to have a balloon induction when it is offered. With less hormones involved, there is less risk of women having too many contractions and babies not liking it.

“It is early days, but so far we have also found that compared to other ways to start labour, there is also less need for a hormone drip during labour and more babies are being born naturally.”

Some of the feedback from new-mums has been really positive, commenting:

‘At first I was sceptical about a balloon induction, but after a few hours I started to have pains. It was a really good experience compared to my previous induction.’

‘I had a balloon induction, started to dilate after 12 hours – very effective.’

‘Having been induced with two pessarys for my first baby, the opportunity to go home was so much better’.

Emma Plater, from Hoyland, chose to have her baby at Rotherham Hospital and said she ‘couldn’t speak highly enough’ of the new Balloon Induction. Emma’s labour was induced as they thought her baby was big, and she found the balloon to be extremely effective.

She said: “I was dreading being induced, you hear lots of stories from other women about it taking days, but I can honestly say that was not my experience at all.

“When the option of the Balloon Induction was mentioned to me,  I thought I would give it a go. After seeing Sue, that evening I had the balloon put in and it didn’t hurt much at all.

“I then went home with it still in place, carried on with my day as normal, before going to bed. After feeling a few mild pains in the night, I went back into hospital the next morning to get it checked and it had done what it needed to do. They then took it out, which I didn’t feel at all and later broke my waters.

“From having the balloon out, to my little boy being born, it was a matter of a few hours. I could not speak highly enough of it and my whole experience of care was excellent.”

The team are now training more midwives to perform balloon inductions and will soon be opening a new clinic setting on the maternity ward, allowing women who are suitable to come in by appointment.

For further information on induced labour, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/induction-labour/