Labor induction — also known as inducing labor — is the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth. A health care provider might recommend labor induction for various reasons, primarily when there's concern for a mother's health or a baby's health. One of the most important factors in predicting the likelihood of a successful labor induction is how soft and distended your cervix is (cervical ripening).

The benefits of labor induction typically outweigh the risks. If you're pregnant, understanding why and how labor induction is done can help you prepare.