Here’s a step by step of what to expect:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🎈Step 1: Cervical Ripening⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are different options depending on the preference of your unit, usually used for 12-24 hours:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ * Mechanical - a balloon is inserted into the cervix and inflated to manually stretch the cervix.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ * Vaginal medication - usually delivered by pessary (similar to a tampon) or a gel⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The aim of the above methods is to be able to soften and open the cervix enough to reach the next stage.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ During this time you should begin to have some contractions which may feel mild at first. You can help to keep the process going by mobilising, and using stairs! If it doesn’t work, this step may be repeated.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔧Step 2: Artificial Rupture of the Membranes (ARM)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The next step is break the waters with a small hook. By releasing the water that keeps the baby's head floating, it allows gravity to cause the baby's head to push on the cervix and encourage further contractions.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💉Step 3: Active labour ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Now is the important, and painful bit! With your waters broken, and having had a bit of stimulation to cause your cervix to open you should already be experiencing some contractions which will continue to get stronger and more frequent.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If the contractions aren't quite frequent or strong enough, then a drip called syntocinon (or pitocin in the US!) will be started. However this requires continuous monitoring of your baby. The drip will continue until your baby is born, which may take around 8-14 hours. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It might be a good time to think about your pain relief options as the drip can make your contractions stronger and longer!