I'm going in for a balloon catheter Monday week at 38 weeks due to a full term stillbirth. As my first child was born via C-section, my options for induction are pretty limited. At the moment the plan is balloon catheter for 24 hours then waters broken. Google is providing many stories about how uncomfortable it is and how many people it didn't work for so I'd love to hear any positive/not awful experiences.
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10-08-2016 13:56 #1
Balloon Catheter - VBAC
10-08-2016 14:01 #2
I know absolutely nothing BUT wanted to say yay for Monday! I've got a stretch and sweep booked for next week I hope we both get our VBAC.
All the best and will be thinking of you xx
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10-08-2016 14:06 #3Senior Member
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- Jan 2012
I haven't had a balloon catheter induction but I did have a successful VBAC in February (after two stretch & sweeps). Best wishes to you xox
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10-08-2016 15:41 #4
I've had a balloon catheter induction (not for VBAC though). I found it a little uncomfortable when inserted and then just a bit awkward afterwards as the end of the catheter is bunched in your undies (I was told sometimes it's taped to your leg to add extra pressure on the cervix). Interesting experience going to the toilet!
This was done at about 10pm and I was left to sleep over night. I had slight cramping and took some panadol. Having a hot shower helped soothe the pains (light period pain type).
They checked it 10am the next day by gently tugging it. My cervix had dilated really well and the balloon catheter slipped out. They then went on to break my waters. I was also placed me on a cyntocin drip.
Contractions started immediately and were strong. I was worried I couldn't cope but the midwife said that the level of contractions would stay the same - it's just that they started at full strength rather than build up over time. I don't know if that's correct but it helped me cope. I was able to move around (wireless monitor) and that, with the use of gas, got me through it.
Labour ended up being just over 4hrs, however, I ended up with retained placenta and needed it to be removed manually in theatre.
All in all, it was a great labour for me and definitely a positive experience.
Happy to answer anything else that I've missed.
I wish you all the best and hope everything goes smoothly for you & bubs x
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10-08-2016 16:21 #5
Depending on where you're having it done, what their policies are and what kind of balloon catheter you're having can all mean slightly different things. But I put them in pretty much every day, so I can give you the spiel that I give all our women who come in...
The balloon catheter is basically a soft, flexible silicone catheter that is inserted through your cervix. There are 2 balloons that we then inflate with water - 1 through the cervix into the uterus and just in front of baby's head, and 1 on the other side of the cervix in your vagina. We aim to fill each balloon with water up to 80ml in each balloon. While the catheter is being inserted is usually the most uncomfortable. You will likely experience some back pain and/or period like cramps while it is being inserted and inflated, but once you're up off the bed and walking around it should settle relatively quickly. If you experience pain that is more severe than back ache or period type craps, tell the dr or midwife putting it in. It might be that one of the balloons is being inflated in the cervix which is bloody painful! Some of us believe that walking around a little after its inserted helps it "settle" into a more comfortable position, and some of us also recommend a warm for 20min or so afterwards will also help relax your body (as invariably most women tense up, understandably). Generally when I put them in I will do a vaginal examination first to assess the cervix to decide a) if I even need a catheter to induce and b) how I'm going to insert the balloon. If it can be done by feel then it can be put in while you're laying on the bed having the vaginal examination. If your cervix is only slightly open/posterior then they may opt for using a speculum to visualize the cervix to place the balloon. This generally involves putting legs up into stirrups. It's similar to a Pap smear (with the spec I mean), but does take a little bit longer. The key to a quick and successful balloon insertion is to stay relaxed. The more tense you are, the more uncomfortable it is to do. It's also much quicker if everything is relaxed on to the bed. If you clench it all together or we have to chase your vagina up the bed it's much harder, takes longer and is way more uncomfortable! The balloon catheter stays in for 12-18hrs (depending on the catheter used). The balloon can fall out of its own accord in which case it means your cervix has changed to a point where they can break your waters OR the balloon catheter can still be in 12-18hrs which means they just remove it first. Since we started doing them as a preference for induction, we have found that for like 98-99%% of people it has been successful in dilating and thinning the cervix enough to break your waters. The like 1-2% it doesn't work on is usually because the balloon has been inserted incorrectly ie both balloons have been inflated in the vagina and the catheter is nowhere near your cervix! You should be able to do everything you would normally do. Shower, use the toilet, walk around etc. We tape the catheter to the leg, but more to stop it flapping around as opposed to added traction to make the balloons put more pressure on the cervix as I think a PP mentioned.
The purpose of a balloon catheter is to dilate and thin your cervix enough that your waters can be broken. It has no bearing on the test of your labour as such, so if you have found loads of stories online who have said that the balloon didn't work for them is it because their cervixes weren't dilated enough for an ARM (artificial rupture of membranes) or are they talking about the labour after the catheter was removed?
I'm sure I have forgotten some things, but any questions, feel free to pm me! I'm in night shift mode so a bit groggy as I've only just woken up!
10-08-2016 16:26 #6
15-08-2016 12:39 #7
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences, it seems a little less scary than I had anticipated. Turns out google-ing isn't always a great idea!
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