To determine if labor induction is necessary, your health care provider will evaluate several factors, including your health, your baby's health, your baby's gestational age and size, your baby's position in the uterus, and the status of your cervix. Labor induction might be recommended if:

  • You're approaching two weeks beyond your due date, and labor hasn't started naturally
  • Your water has broken, but you're not having contractions
  • There's an infection in your uterus
  • Your baby has stopped growing at the expected pace
  • There's not enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby (oligohydramnios)
  • Your placenta has begun to deteriorate
  • The placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery — either partially or completely (placental abruption)
  • You have a medical condition that might put you or your baby at risk, such as high blood pressure or diabetes

Sometimes labor induction is a practical matter. If you live far from the hospital or birthing center or you have a history of rapid deliveries, a scheduled induction might help you avoid an unattended delivery. In such cases, your health care provider will confirm that your baby's gestational age is at least 39 weeks or older before induction to reduce the risk of health problems for your baby.

Some women request labor induction for convenience or to avoid causing a sudden disruption at home or work, but that's generally not recommended. Unnecessary intervention poses unnecessary risks — such as a possible C-section, which also increases recovery time and costs. Trust your health care provider to help you make the best decision in your case.

June 24, 2014