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Helping labour

Sometimes, the doctor may need to start labour artificially after weighing the risk of delivery for the mother and the baby as compared to the risk of continuing pregnancy.  These methods are also adopted to speed up labour that is not progressing well. Before deciding to induce labour, the doctor will do foetal monitoring and determine if the mothers cervix is favorable for induction.

In certain cases it is left to the doctor to decide whether to deliver you artificially. 

Methods of induction of labour

Artificial rupture of membranes: In prolonged labour, the membranes which holds the bag of water is pierced via the vaginal route, allowing some of the amniotic fluid to escape, which alters the pressure in the womb causing labour to start.
Oxytocin drip: A synthetic hormone oxytocin is given by intravenous infusion, which is carefully monitored. These help to bring on contractions or make them stronger and start or assist labour.
Prostaglandin gel or tablet: Is put in the vagina to start labour pains.

Methods of assisting labour in later stages
When for some reason the foetal  heart beat becomes irregular or the baby's position makes the delivery difficult the mother is too tired to push, the doctor may use one of the following :

Forceps:  A surgical instrument looking like two big spoons is passed around the babies  head in the birth canal, mostly at the outlet and occasionally at a little higher level, to gently pull out the baby.
Vacuum Extraction: A plastic cup is attached to the baby's head and by using a vacuum pump the baby is gently pulled from the birth canal.
Caesarian Delivery: Delivering the baby via abdomen route when delivery via the vaginal route is not safe for the baby,  which may  happen unexpectedly, an emergency Caesarian delivery is done e.g. conditions of foetal distress, placental problems with bleeding. Sometimes a Caesarian birth may be planned well in advance, for reasons such as:

CPD (cephalopelvic disproportion) where baby is too large to pass safely through the mother's pelvis.

Medical illness of the mother like diabetes and blood pressure.
Breech presentation of the baby (buttocks and feet are placed first instead of the head, as baby emerges from the birth canal) or other unusual presentation.