Induction of Labour

What is induction of labour?

Induction of labour describes a process whereby labour is stimulated artificially, rather than waiting for natural (spontaneous) labour to begin. It is recommended in situations where your obstetrician thinks it is safer for the baby to be born, rather than continuing with the pregnancy.

For whom do you suggest induction of labour?

In most healthy pregnancies, induction of labour is not required. The best outcomes are usually achieved by waiting for natural labour to commence. However, in some circumstances, induction of labour is recommended:

  • Women who are 7-10 days past their due date (“post-dates”)
  • Pregnancies complicated by diabetes or high blood pressure
  • If the waters have broken but contractions do not commence within 24-48 hours
  • There is concern about fetal growth or movement

How is labour induced?

Labour is induced by breaking the waters (called “artificial rupture of the membranes”, ARM) which is followed by administration of the hormone, oxytocin, through an intravenous drip.

What if you cannot break my waters?

If the cervix is completely closed, then ARM is not possible. In this situation, induction is either deferred or – if it is not safe to wait – the woman is admitted and a hormone pessary containing prostaglandin (like a tampon) is inserted vaginally overnight. This helps to soften the cervix and make the ARM possible.

Does induction of labour carry any risks?

There is a small risk of:

  • Unsuccessful (failed) induction
  • Uterine hyperstimulation
  • Cord prolapse  

Do natural methods of induction work?

There is no good scientific evidence that sexual intercourse, breast stimulation, acupuncture or hypnosis help induce labour although they are unlikely to be harmful. Castor oil does not appear to be successful, increases the feeling of nausea and therefore should be avoided.

Do you offer induction of labour for “social reasons”?

Depending on the readiness of your cervix, induction of labour carries a chance of not working and you ending up with an unnecessary CS. For this reason, we prefer to reserve induction of labour for medical indications. However, if you have a strong wish for induction, please feel free to discuss this with your SHORE FOR WOMEN specialist.

  • Mater Hospital
  • North Shore Private Hospital
  • The University Of Sydney
  • Royal College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists