Hi ... i'm due in a few days too & have just seen my Obstetrician about this very topic.
They usually will talk to you about inducing you to find out what your thoughts are. Usually they wait till your 41wks before doing anything ... or up to 42weeks.
I'm seeing my Dr next Thursday to set a date to be induced & am thinking of when I should set it ... should I wait for her to come when shes ready or let them use medical intervention ?
Dr's don't like you going over 42 wks as the placenta starts to die slowly, the amniotic fluid starts reducing as well ... things that may compromise bubs health. Also, the longer it is the bigger bub grows .. the harder to push out ... so they say!
They may do a stretch & sweep (not part of an induction) just to see if that sets labour off.
To induce you they'll just book you into the hospital - usually in the evening - on a set date & give you 'prostin' gel by inserting it into your vagina - up to the cervix (if you are not dilated) - this softens your cervix & can start off dilation and contractions alone.
They may give you a few doses of this if the first insertion doesn't do anything. After inserting prostin they'll check your babies heartrate to ensure he/she isn't distressed. If you do dilate they will then possibly try & break the waters for you with a 'amnihook'. Usually once the waters break your bubs will be able to move down more quickly & will start things happening more so ... but sometimes not. The midwives will usually suggest going for a short walk up & down the hospital corridors or something if your up to it ... to help things along ... This may be enough to get you into established labour & bub won't be far off arriving.
But if your only slowly getting into labour they'll usually give you a sleeping tablet so you can get some rest & sleep overnight & they'll start 'syntocinon' IV drip the next morning.
They start it off slowly & during this time you'll have a permanent monitor around your belly to check bub's heartbeat & contractions.
They slowly 'turn up' the drip to make the contractions stronger ... & continually do this and monitor baby as well as checking if your dilating.
This will pretty much always get you into labour, but can be slow or fast .... if it takes too long, your more likely to have medical intervention such as an epidural to relax your body (decrease adrenalin which slows labour) and can end up with a forcep or vaccuum delivery if bubs is too slow at coming out ... or an emergency caesarian if bub gets distressed at anytime).
It is absolutely normal to feel scared of the upcoming labour ~ its hard as you haven't been through it before & don't know what to expect (i'm feeling exactly the same way)! I wonder whether i'll have a 4hr labour or a 24+ labour like my sister & mother had. I wonder how i'm going to handle it. Its scary to not know whats going to happen (you can be prepared as anything with setting up the nursery & planning etc, but this is one thing you won't be able to precisely plan) ... the thing is ... YOU can do it ... & you will do it! After its over you'll have a beautiful bub & that is what your doing this for! You'll have the support of the midwives, dr's, family & remember ... pain relief!
Your not alone. Good luck & i hope to hear how everything goes for you ! : )