The aim of using the balloon catheter is to try and avoid a pharmaceutical induction and is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Foley’s catheter is a single balloon inserted inside the cervix and the Cook’s device is a double balloon, one inserted inside the cervix and one left on the outside of the cervix.
You will be asked to empty your bladder and the midwife will palpate your abdomen to assess the position of baby and how far down your baby is (station).
You will be attached to the foetal monitor for 20 – 30 minutes to assess a baseline for your baby’s heart rate to ensure that baby is in good health and stable. You may be required to have regular heart monitoring to ensure the wellbeing of your baby.
The midwife will then use a sterile solution to disinfect around your vulva. A small rubber tube is inserted through the cervix, and then the deflated balloon portion is inflated with a saline solution and left between the amniotic sac and the bottom of the uterus on the other side of the cervix.
The balloon is then left in place with the tubing being taped to the inside of your thigh to allow the midwife to use traction from time to time to create pressure against the cervix (similar to a baby’s head), to help it soften and open and trigger the release of prostaglandins.
Once the cervix has started to dilate, the balloon will fall out, and this may be enough to start spontaneous labour. You will be assessed and the next step will be discussed and decided.
Foley Catheter Benefits
- Fewer side effects compared to prostaglandins;
- May start spontaneous labour;
- Lowers the risk of caesarean rates;
- Less likely to cause foetal distress;
- You are still able to move around at leisure;
- Reduced neonatal admission;
- Less likely to have uterine hyper-stimulation or postpartum hemorrhage;
Foley Catheter Risks
- Uncomfortable to insert and remove, sometimes even painful;
- May feel uncomfortable while in use;
- Prelabour rupture of membranes;
- Vaginal bleeding;
- Some have experienced pelvic pain;
- More likely to have a longer labour compared to prostaglandin gels;
Here are the RANZCOG Guidelines for Induction of Labour in Australia and New Zealand.
OTHER INDUCTION METHODS
Stretch & Sweep – CLICK HERE
Prostaglandin Gels – CLICK HERE
Artificial Rupture of Membranes (AROM) – CLICK HERE
Synthetic Oxytocin (Syntocinon) – CLICK HERE
My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy & Postpartum Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach. I am a serial workshopper and learner, so that I keep up to date with new research and information so that I can provide you with up to date resources. My focus has always been on the mind, the body and the emotions and how they all need to be in balance for harmony. You can subscribe to my newsletter by adding your details in the box on the right-hand side and when you do I will send you a free relaxation meditation to help you feel calm and relaxed. I am based in the northern suburbs of Perth and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or phone (08) 9303 9111 or click here to go back to my Blog Page for more great articles and information.