Why it's done

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, weight and size, your baby's position in the uterus, and the status of your cervix. Reasons for labor induction include:

  • Postterm pregnancy. You're approaching two weeks beyond your due date, and labor hasn't started naturally.
  • Premature rupture of membranes. Your water has broken, but labor hasn't begun.
  • Chorioamnionitis. You have an infection in your uterus.
  • Fetal growth restriction. The estimated weight of your baby is less than 10 percent of what is expected for the gestational age.
  • Oligohydramnios. There's not enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.
  • Gestational diabetes. You have diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure disorders of pregnancy. You have a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system (preeclampsia), high blood pressure that was present before pregnancy or that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy (chronic high blood pressure), or high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy (gestational hypertension).
  • Placental abruption. Your placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery — either partially or completely.
  • Certain medical conditions. You have a medical condition such as kidney disease or obesity.

Elective labor induction is the initiation of labor for convenience in a person with a term pregnancy who doesn't medically need the intervention. Elective labor inductions might be appropriate in some instances. For example, 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.

References
  1. Wing DA. Induction of labor. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  2. Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ069. What to expect after your due date. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/What-to-Expect-After-Your-Due-Date. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 107: Induction of labor. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;114:386. Reaffirmed 2016.
  4. Wing DA. Cervical ripening and induction of labor in women with a prior cesarean delivery. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  5. Meconium aspiration syndrome. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/perinatal-problems/meconium-aspiration-syndrome. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  6. Wing DA. Techniques for ripening the unfavorable cervix prior to induction. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  7. Frequently asked questions. Labor, delivery and postpartum care FAQ154. Labor induction. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Labor-Induction. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  8. Gabbe SG, et al. Abnormal labor and induction of labor. In: Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  9. Cunningham FG, et al. Induction and augmentation of labor. In: Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  10. Bush M, et al. Umbilical cord prolapse. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 25, 2017.
  11. Butler Tobah Y (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 22, 2017.