Induction of labour is the use of medications to artificially initiate the labour process. When used for the right reasons, induction can have benefits for both the mother and baby. It should only be used when the risks of continuing the pregnancy are greater than the risks associated with delivery.
Some examples of conditions that induction is used include:
Induction should never be used for the convenience of the mother or the health care provider.
Induction does not always work, so there is a risk that labour will not start. In cases where induction is done earlier than normal due to complications of the mother or baby, or the cervix is not ready for labour, induction can be more difficult. In this case, other medication can be given before oxytocin to try and make the cervix more ready (‘ripen’ the cervix).
Other risks of induction, using various methods, include:
There are different methods of induction:
Depending on how far along you are, the reasons for induction, and how dilated your cervix is, you and your health care provider will decide together how and when to approach induction.