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.
Jul. 22, 2011
- Wing DA. Induction of labor. http://www.uptodate/com/home/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- What to expect after your due date. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp069.cfm. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Tita ATN, et al. Timing of elective repeat cesarean delivery at term and neonatal outcomes. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:111.
- Wing DA. Induction of labor in women with prior cesarean delivery. http://www.uptodate/com/home/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Clark SL, et al. Neonatal and maternal outcomes associated with elective term delivery. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;100:156.
- Wing DA. Techniques for cervical ripening prior to labor induction. http://www.uptodate/com/home/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Labor induction. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp154.cfm. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Battista LH, et al. Abnormal labor and induction of labor. In: Gabbe SG, et al. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Inc.; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06930-7..50015-3&isbn=978-0-443-06930-7&uniqId=243410035-2#4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06930-7..50015-3. Accessed May 11, 2011.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=6026579. Accessed May 11, 2011.
- Belogolovkin V, et al. Umbilical cord prolapse. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 11, 2011.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Induction of labor. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 107. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;114:386.
- Healthy pregnancy. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/childbirth-beyond/labor-birth.cfm. Accessed May 11, 2011.
- Management of labor. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. http://www.icsi.org/labor/labor__management_of__full_version__2.html. Accessed May 12, 2011.
- Meconium aspiration syndrome. The Merck Manuals: Home Edition for Patients and Caregivers. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/sec23/ch264/ch264i.html. Accessed May 12, 2011.
- Grotegut CA, et al. Oxytocin exposure during labor among women with postpartum hemorrhage secondary to uterine atony. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2011;204:56.e1.
- Thinking About Inducing Your Labor: A Guide for Pregnant Women. http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productID=353#toc. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Accessed June 1, 2011.
- Berghella V. Cesarean delivery: Technique. http://www.uptodate/com/home/index.html. Accessed July 1, 2011.