Induction of Labour – The Risks of Inducing Labour

Induction of Labour - The Risks of Inducing Labour

Like most pregnant women, you’ll probably reach a certain point during pregnancy when you’ve had enough.

Enough of being pregnant, uncomfortable, sore and tired.

Enough of waiting to meet the tiny person you’ve been growing for the last nine months.

Even though you don’t really like the idea of having an induction, getting the ‘heavily pregnant’ part over and done with sounds very tempting.

Some women genuinely need to have their labour induced. There are certain situations — for example, pre-eclampsia — where continuing the pregnancy is more of a risk to mother or baby than having an induction.

So if there’s a genuine medical reason why your baby should be born as soon as possible, this article is not for you.

However, these days, labour inductions happen more commonly for convenience rather than for medical reasons. Sometimes it’s simply because a date has passed or a woman’s preferred doctor isn’t available around the due date.

Having an induction of labour isn’t a simple procedure and it’s not without risk. It’s not about having a bit of medicine and your labour will work just like it would have naturally.

To decide whether or not to have an induction, you need to ask yourself whether being induced is more likely to help or harm you and your baby.

“Inducing labour involves making your body/baby do something it’s not yet ready to do. Before agreeing to be induced, be prepared for the entire package, i.e. all the steps. You may be lucky enough to skip one step, but once you start the induction process, you are committed to doing whatever it takes to get the baby out, because by agreeing to induce, you are saying that you or your baby are in danger if the pregnancy continues. An induced labour is not a physiological labour, and you and your baby will be treated as high risk — because you are.”Doctor Rachel Reed

What Is An Induction Of Labour?

When labour begins on its own (spontaneously), it triggers an amazing and complex process, involving your baby, your body and your brain. Your baby signals when he or she is ready for life outside the uterus and your brain responds to this signal by releasing oxytocin. During labour, this powerful hormone causes your uterus to contract, dilating the cervix and pushing your baby out. As levels of oxytocin rise, your brain releases endorphins – nature’s painkillers.

Induction of labour bypasses these two critical steps in the labour process. Your baby has not given the ‘ready to be born’ signals and so your body can’t respond to those signals with its own hormones.

The last weeks of pregnancy are very important. During this time, your antibodies are passed to your baby, so that the baby is prepared for fighting infection and disease after birth. The baby is also gaining essential fat and iron stores, as well as honing skills like sucking and swallowing. Brain development also accelerates in the last 5 weeks of pregnancy. Most importantly, your baby’s lungs are still developing, and researchers now believe there is a connection between lung development and labour.

In the weeks before labour begins, estrogen levels rise and progesterone levels drop, increasing the uterus’ sensitivity to oxytocin and preparing it for the work to come. Braxton Hicks or ‘pre-labour’ might start the process of thinning and opening the cervix, as well as encouraging your baby to get into the optimal position for birth.

This entire process ensures that labour is effective and your baby is completely ready to be born – able to adjust to life outside the uterus and start a successful breastfeeding relationship with you.

Induction essentially replaces the natural process that happens over weeks, and forces your body to go through it in a few hours. Your cervix is artificially softened and your bloodstream is flooded with synthetic hormones. Contractions are forced to happen quickly and the tempo of labour increases over a short space of time. This makes the pain much harder to manage.

Induction means you are constantly monitored. You will also have an IV drip in place, which restricts movement and your ability to work with the contractions. Induced contractions become much stronger more quickly and are harder to cope with, so there is a greater chance that you will need to request an epidural. You will be checked regularly for fetal distress, as a baby’s heart rate tends to dip in response to the stronger contractions.

Induction of Labour - The Risks of Inducing Labour

Why Is Labour Induced?

The big question is this: Why would a low risk woman agree to be induced if her baby was not in danger? An induction only introduces real risks to what could be a perfectly normal birth. These are the most common reasons for induction:

Post Dates (the ‘due date’ has passed)

Full term is estimated to be between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. Your estimated due date (EDD) falls around the 40 week mark, calculated as 288 days from your last menstrual period. Many hospitals have a policy of induction at 10 days after the EDD. In the US over 44% of women report being induced because they were full term (over 37 weeks) and were near their EDD.

Given that women have individual differences and various factors in their lives that influence their menstrual cycles, it is unreasonable to think babies should be evicted forcefully if they don’t arrive at the ‘right’ time. Research shows that pregnancies can vary in length naturally by 5 weeks.

Babies who are induced before they are ready to be born can miss out on important development in the uterus, and are at greater risk of respiratory problems, low blood sugar, jaundice, irregular heart rate and the inability to stabilise temperature. They are also more likely to have difficulty with establishing breastfeeding, which can have an ongoing impact on health and wellbeing for both mother and baby.

Premature Rupture Of Membranes

When the amniotic sac ruptures before labour begins, it is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM). Many women are given a time frame for contractions to begin naturally (usually 24 hours), and after that they are induced, to avoid the risk of infection.

The results of this study showed women who had experienced PROM and were screened for Group B Strep had very good outcomes when they waited for labour to begin. Induction of labour lowers the risk of infection in the mother, but not in the newborn baby; neither does it reduce the risk of needing a c-section.

Infection after PROM can occur during routine vaginal examinations. Even with sterile gloves on, care providers push bacteria from the vagina up toward the cervix. Avoiding vaginal examinations can reduce the chance of infection in both mother and baby.

Antibiotics are commonly used as a preventative measure, for women whose waters have broken and labour has not begun. What we now know about the importance of bacteria seeding during labour and birth indicates the increased use of antibiotics could be creating future health issues for babies. This review of four studies showed that giving routine antibiotics (where PROM occurred at full term) did not reduce the risk of infection in pregnant women or their babies.

If a woman’s temperature and general wellbeing are monitored, and if antibiotics are available if required, she can be reassured that waiting 2-3 days for labour to begin is a viable option. 

Suspected Large Baby

There are many reasons why some babies are larger than others – reasons related to genetics or to underlying health issues, such as gestational diabetes. There’s no way to measure a baby’s size and weight accurately before birth, so babies are only ‘suspected’ to be large until they are born. Ultrasounds are not 100% accurate and there are many reports of women being induced because of a ‘big baby’ when their babies’ birth weight turns out to be average or lower.

The medical term for a big baby is macrosomia. Most guidelines consider babies to be big if they weigh over 4500 grams, or 9lbs 15oz. The main concern with birthing a big baby is the risk of shoulder dystocia, where the baby’s shoulders become stuck. This is regarded as an emergency, with potential for causing injury to the baby (brachial plexus injury). However, this injury occurs about 30% of the time when there is no shoulder dystocia, and can even happen after a c-section.

In cases of gestational diabetes, the evidence recommending induction before 41 weeks to avoid a big baby is weak. The World Health Organisation does not recommend induction for gestational diabetes unless the condition is not controlled or if the placenta is not providing enough nourishment to the baby.

Induction carries risks and there is no evidence to show induction for a suspected big baby improves outcomes; in fact it increases the risk of c-section.

Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) At Term

The growth of your baby during pregnancy depends on several factors: genes, your health, and how well the placenta is functioning. Some babies are small for their gestational age and others are growth-restricted because they are not receiving enough nourishment via the placenta.

As in the case of a suspected big baby, it is only possible to tell whether a baby is small genetically or because of a medical problem when the baby has been born. A diagnosis of IUGR relies on accurate dating in early pregnancy. As mentioned earlier, not all women have exactly the same menstrual cycle and many women are not aware of when they conceived, making their EDD a guessed date rather than an exact one. Ultrasounds during pregnancy are more accurate before 20 weeks, when the margin of error is 7-10 days. Ultrasound dating at or near term is more likely to have a margin of error of 3 weeks.

study from the Netherlands shows that waiting for labour to begin spontaneously (expectant management) has the same outcomes as induction for babies suspected of IUGR. The results show that significantly more babies in the induction group were admitted to high or medium-level NICU care. The babies in the expectant management group, who were born when they were ready, were about 100 grams heavier than the babies in the induction group.


During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded by a sac filled with liquid called amniotic fluid. It protects your baby and the umbilical cord from trauma and infection.

Amniotic fluid is produced by the mother, absorbed by the baby from the placenta, and then excreted via the baby’s lung secretions and urine output. After 2o weeks of pregnancy, fetal urine is the primary source of fluid. The levels fluctuate, depending on how hydrated the mother is, how much the baby swallows and urinates, and whether the baby has problems with kidney function.

In some cases, amniotic fluid levels might be too low (oligohydramnios). The amount of fluid can be measured using two methods:

  • Amniotic fluid index (AFI) evaluation: four ‘pockets’ of fluid are measured by ultrasound and added up, resulting in an Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI)
  • Deep pocket measurements: the single deepest vertical pocket of fluid is identified by ultrasound and measured in centimetres

If the AFI shows a fluid level of less than 5 centimetres, the absence of a fluid pocket 2-3 cm in depth, or a fluid volume of less than 500mL at 32-36 weeks gestation, then oligohydramnios is suspected. There is no current standard as to what is considered high or low amniotic fluid, and most cases are isolated – meaning there is no underlying issue causing the fluid levels to decrease.

About 4% of women are diagnosed with oligohydramnios. Low risk women at term (37-42 weeks) with a suspected diagnosis of oligohydramnios can either wait for labour (with monitoring) or be induced. The vast majority of doctors will push for induction over expectant management. This is despite the evidence showing labour induction does not improve outcomes for babies but increases the risk of interventions and c-section.

How Is Labour Induced?

There are three main steps to labour induction and you might need some or all of them.

Your doctor might not tell you about some risks listed in this section, and you might find them worrying or disturbing. However, if you were given a packet of the drugs used for induction, this is the information you would have to be given about their use and effects. It’s not intended to frighten you, but to help you make a balanced, informed decision based on the risks and benefits. When it’s a question of life-saving benefits, of course, there is no risk you wouldn’t take. But if your or your baby’s life is not in danger, it’s worth considering whether induction is worth the risks to you and your baby.

#1: Cervix Assessment / Stretch and Sweep

Your doctor or midwife will do an examination to determine if your cervix is favourable (slightly open or dilated) or unfavourable (firm and closed).

If your cervix is favourable, a stretch and sweep of the membranes might be offered as a ‘drug-free’ option. A stretch and sweep might be painful, depending on the practitioner, but it can be uncomfortable and result in some bleeding afterwards.

To sweep the membranes, the care provider places a finger inside your cervix and separates the membranes from your cervix, stretching the cervix at the same time. Even though your care provider will be using sterile gloves, inserting anything into the vagina has the potential to push bacteria up to the cervix.

You might be given the option of having your waters broken straight away if your cervix is favourable (see below).

If your cervix is not favourable, the next step is to use artificial prostaglandins to soften and open your cervix. This drug is inserted, either as a gel or a pessary, into your vagina close to the cervix. The drug acts to soften and dilate the cervix and stimulate contractions. Prostaglandins can take several doses to work, so you might need to return to hospital several times.

Prostaglandins can cause hyperstimulation of the uterus (excessively strong contractions) resulting in fetal distress and c-section.

If the prostaglandin use is effective and your cervix opens slightly, your waters can be broken (see below) to further encourage labour to begin.

#2: Artificial Rupture of Membranes (ARM)

If your cervix is favourable and your baby is head down and well engaged, you might be given the ‘drug free’ option of having your waters broken. A special hook is inserted through the cervix to create a hole in the amniotic sac, allowing the amniotic fluid to leak.

This is done in the hope that labour will begin but there’s usually a strict time limit on how long you can wait for contractions to become established. Usually it’s only an hour or two before another method of induction is used.

The risk of infection is increased with ARM – because something is being inserted into the vagina and moved upwards towards the cervix. There is also the possibility of fetal distress and c-section. The amniotic fluid protects your baby, the placenta and the umbilical cord from the pressure of contractions during labour. If your waters have been broken, there is less cushioning in the uterus. Sometimes the cord can be compressed and reduce baby’s heart rate. This isn’t always a problem but some babies don’t cope well and show signs of distress, meaning a c-section becomes more likely.

In rare cases, the baby turns into the breech position, and this can be problematic if the membranes have ruptured and the baby’s head isn’t engaged. There is also a risk of cord prolapse, which occurs when the umbilical cord slips out before the baby.

#3: Synthetic Oxytocin (Pitocin, Syntocinon)

In a natural labour, the bloodstream is flooded with oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates the uterus to contract. As contractions intensify and last longer, your brain releases endorphins – natural painkillers. As the endorphin levels increase, so do the oxytocin levels and the tempo of labour increases. Nature has created a perfect dance of hormones that encourage efficient contractions and a productive labour.

Artificial oxytocin does not cross the blood-brain barrier and acts only on the muscle of the uterus. It’s administered through an intravenous drip and might be used after the above steps, or before, or during labour to speed things up (augmentation), if you are not progressing as well as your care provider would like.

Artificial oxytocin is started at a low dose that is increased until your contractions establish a pattern and consistency – the required number of contractions per hour. Most women report these contractions as very painful and difficult to cope with, especially as monitoring is required and movement is restricted. It’s not uncommon for women to request pain relief and experience further interventions when being induced with artificial oxytocin.

Side effects of Pitocin/Syntocinon include:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Postpartum haemorrhage
  • Water intoxication
  • Hypertonic uterus
  • Uterine rupture
  • Uterine inversion
  • Stillbirth
  • Abnormal heart rates
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaphylaxis

Babies born to mothers who have been induced with oxytocin can have reactions such as irregular or abnormal heart rates, retinal haemorrhage, jaundice, brain damage and death.

Every woman’s situation is unique to her own health and the wellbeing of her baby. In order to decide between induction and waiting for labour to begin spontaneously, women need to be provided with the benefits and risks of both options.

Before choosing to be induced, you need to be aware that in most cases you can’t change your mind after the process has begun, especially in the case of artificial rupture of membranes. In the majority of situations, after an induction has begun, you will need to do whatever is needed for your baby to be born. Unless there is a clear risk in continuing with your pregnancy, induction should be an absolute last resort.

Get Informed About Induction

An induction of labour triggers what is known as ‘the cascade of interventions’. What does that mean? The clip below is a snippet from the documentary, The Business of Being Born — essential viewing for anyone having a baby. If you don’t have time to purchase the DVD, you can watch the documentary via live streaming.

Finally, watch this clip from the late Marsden Wagner. Marsden was a Director of Maternal and Child Health for the World Health Organization.

Recommended Reading

Last Updated: October 15, 2015


Sam McCulloch enjoys talking so much about birth that she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she watches Downton Abbey and has numerous creative projects on the go. She is mother to three beautiful little humans.


  1. Hi, i was induced at 38 weeks since my water broke. They said that I cannot wait for more than 24 hours after My water has gone and I need to be induced. The induction wasnt successful and my baby’s heart rate was going down so they had to take me for an emergency c section. Was it necessary for me to get induced since my water has broke or can I wait till I go on to labour naturally ?

  2. i was also induced at 40 weeks my water broke and the doctor said I couldn’t wait for more than 24hours. I gave birth vaginally 7 hours after I was induced with no pain relief. I just want to find out if I could have waited longer than 24hours for labor to start naturally?

    1. My water broke when i was 28 weeks and i wasnt induce. I asked the dr if it was dangerous for the baby to be with the broken water and he said that as long as i was getting hydrated and wasnt contracting i could go for weeks with the bronken water unfortunately i started contrating 72 hrs later and my daughter was just premature didnt have any other problems because of the broken water

  3. My wife was induced and it went for 21 hours with the drip when I asked it to be turned off. She was 40 weeks and 5 days. The water had ‘leaked’ and was eventually broken as part if the induction process. Add on another 3 hours without the hormone and then a C section. Baby girl born – 4.63kg! Mum was shaking after the C section and it took them at Monash 3.5 hours to finally get mum with baby! Baby hadn’t been fed in these 3.5 hours. Great timing by the doctor, finally as Mum was with baby, doctor advised baby has to go to special care for antibiotics as Mum had a fever. Mum n baby back together 26 hours after the delivery in the transitional unit. Mum has a swollen labia / vagia, I am curious if the Syntocinon has factured into this abnormality and is the Obstretrician’s plan to bring it back to normal?? We were inducing at a rate of 144 for well over 6 hours and 168 at well over 6 hours! I see no mention of this side effect in your report? Baby will be taken off antibiotics after 48 hours. I feel the induction process played a major part in baby going into special care. Sure my wife probably would never have delivered naturally, however you are right the Obstertrician team has no idea about the womans body! They never did a later ultrasound even as the stomach measured 40 at 34 weeks!

  4. As a midwife in a private hospital, I thank you and commend you for a well balanced article backed up by sound research. I am horrified and deeply disappointed by the current levels of ‘social’ induction I am seeing. And yes, I definitely agree with the likelihood of increased risk of caesarian. If there are 4 booked inductions you automatically think ‘well that is probably another two caesars later today’ at the back of you mind. And forgive my ignorance if I can’t see how inducing to be born on a more ‘lucky’ day will give your child a more fortunate life if that is not really the day they were meant to be born. Please leave the medical intervention for medical reasons only. Birth is preparing you for parenting – learning to be patient, selfless and flexible!

  5. I have just reached 40 weeks in my second pregnancy and the doctors have immediately started the induction discussions. This article has given me the confidence to stand my ground for now and give baby time to come when he/she is ready! I feel great, baby is fine, and I just don’t see a need to hurry up something that will come when it is ready!

      1. Hi Kelly, our gorgeous baby girl arrived completely healthy with no complications at 40w5d! Can’t believe how strongly the Dr’s were pushing me to be induced when there was nothing wrong with either of us. She knew when she was ready…and she wasn’t late, she was perfectly on time!

  6. The doctors were all pushing to induce me at 38 then 39 weeks despite my completely healthy pregnancy. Me and baby have both been completely healthy and I have been VERY comfortable and active and well the ENTIRE pregnancy. It’s because I was 40 (and just turned 41). I reviewed the risks and my husband and I refused. They say due to advanced maternal age I’m twice as likely to have a stillbirth. Our reviews of the medical data showed that translates to a 1 in 503 chance, (it’s 1 in 1006 for a woman 35 or under). So I didn’t find that to be a valid reason. Because induction has risks too, and also because we read in a medical journal that the baby’s lungs release surfactant when baby is ready to be born, then mother’s body releases hormones to start the birth process. The doctors and nurses admitted this to be true. So then, clearly our baby wasn’t ready at 38 or 39 weeks. Plus, I always had a very long menstrual cycle not the standard 28 days. We conceived within days of trying, we have had a gloriously healthy pregnancy, and are now at 40 weeks. If I go LATE they can induce, but by then at least we know we gave our baby plenty of time to develop fully, and feel better about it. Besides, NOW I’m 50% effaced and baby has dropped very low. Braxton Hicks are strong and frequent and we are READY when baby is! I feel we’ve done the right thing, standing firm on our decision as there was no complication to make an induction necessary. Again, if baby arrives too late, we will agree to induction. We are not being stubborn. We are just trying to do things as safely as we feel possible.

    1. Hi Eva, my partner and I share similar views. We have been pressured into induction at 41 weeks, though as we all know ‘term’ is considered up to 42 weeks. It is hard to understand all the dates and records being made to control a natural process. Is there such thing as ‘late’? We have also stood firm with our decision and it is a shame that you feel like you are causing a fuss and annoying the healthcare staff. Well done.. this is not being stubborn, this is being sensible and considering the best possible care for your child. 🙂

  7. In addition to my above comment, I have been checked and tested and monitored 8 ways from Sunday all throughout my pregnancy due to my “advanced maternal age”. Yes we are in our 40’s but in superb health and vitality. So they had me do DNA testing, extra blood tests, extra sonograms, extra weekly OBGYN check-ups, and twice weekly “fetal monitoring” to ensure baby’s heart is strong. I have dutifully gone to ALL these check ups (one week I had FIVE check ups in one week, but on average they schedule me for three doctor visits per week). It’s a bit annoying but I cooperate. So we know I’m healthy and so is the baby. This is why we refused induction.

  8. I am 42 weeks, and have just “timed-out” of my natural home birth. I feel social pressure to induce at this point because people think I’m putting my baby in danger. The emotional effects of this have been huge and now im wondering if the stress of the situation is making it worse or prolonging the start of labor. Last week’s NST was great and I’m scheduled for a second tomorrow. Maybe things will be more clear then, but is there ever a time when non emergency inductions are preferred?

    1. After that 42 week mark it does get prickly. I know women who kept going and others who didn’t. You can have an ultrasound to check placenta function, and I imagine they’d want you in for monitoring daily or so. If you want to keep going, I would agree to daily monitoring, and if baby seems fine it will be relief for all. But if they notice any stress or issues, then of course, you’d induce. Because you are so close, it may only take a small nudge to get things going. We all know dates can be inaccurate, so while you are 42 weeks on paper, baby might still be 41 or so. All the best mama – I think the very best thing you can do is trust your intuition (and work with your care provider’s observations). I think it’s a powerful thing. Mamas usually know when they no longer feel safe or something is wrong. Let us know how you go!

  9. I’m glad to see more blogs like this. During my first pregnancy, I was uninformed and trusted my doctor. I was pressured into an induction a few days past 40 weeks. I brought up the risk of cesarean but was assured that it was unlikely. The induction failed and c section followed just as I feared. I found out months later that c section was very likely – 60% in first time mothers. When he was born, I was so sick of the torture that I refused to see him. His birth should have been an exciting event but instead it was frightening and sad. Breastfeeding was impossible. I’ve been angry for years. I was lied to. Why do doctors do this? Isn’t it malpractice? My pregnancy was perfectly normal too.
    My son currently has a language delay and I wonder whether the induction caused it (I hope it wasn’t).
    My second pregnancy was full of issues including gestational diabetes, polyhydramnios, big baby, among other things. Toward the end I had olygohydramnios. I was pressured to a c section at 37 weeks but I refused. In fact, I refused 38, 39, and 40. My doctor even had me sign a statement where she wrote that despite her advice, I was refusing. I argued with her constantly. I argued with everyone. I was THAT pregnant woman who continued to be pregnant despite all the warnings. My favorite line was “they LET you go past — weeks?” as if I needed their permission. It was very stressful being pressured at every appointment and there were tons of appointments. Despite this pregnancy being higher risk, I did my research and weighed pros and cons, controlled the diabetes and my weight. There is a lot more story but this is getting too long. To make a long story shorter, I went into labor at 40+5 which progressed extremely fast. There were too many complications so I agreed to a c section. The baby was truly at risk at that time. The point I’m trying to make is I don’t think I would have been so adamant to carry this baby to term if it hadn’t been for the botched induction the first time. I carried her an extra 4 weeks past the recommended c section date. She was supposed to be a big baby. She was supposed to have complications from the GD. She was under 7 lbs and perfectly healthy.

    I think doctors should be held accountable for pressuring women into unnecessary inductions. If nothing is wrong with the pregnancy, pressuring a woman to start the birth process unnaturally is nothing short of malpractice.

  10. My husband and I are in the UK and we came across this article when reading up on induction, as due to my age (42), we were under consultant led care at our local hospital. We were glad to find an article that didn’t gloss over the risks of sweeps and inductions, but which explained everything realistically.

    Despite the fact that we have four healthy children, aged between 3 years and 23 years of age, all the Drs we saw at our hospital were quite negative about our pregnancy. It seemed like they were obsessed by the age factor and kept over emphasising all the risks.

    They were not interested in whether we had a birth plan, or whether we wanted a natural birth – all they cared about was that we went along with their plan for how they believed we should proceed. It felt as if they were grasping at straws, trying to find other reasons to try and bully us into agreeing to their plans.

    Sadly (for them), as age was the only risk factor and all our previous births had been natural deliveries with gas and air only, we weren’t too happy when at 32 weeks, we were told that we would be having a sweep at 37 weeks. No asking us in advance, no discussion about it with us. They did not seem at all pleased when we refused this, and just kept telling us it was important for us to deliver our baby by 40 weeks, due to the risks of stillbirth etc.

    We disagreed with them, saying that we wanted to have a natural birth and wanted to wait as long as we could to give our baby a chance to come on her own.

    We were having regular scans and also seeing our midwife regularly, so we knew that our baby was growing nicely and our midwife had no worries about the health of myself or our baby, but thanks to the Drs involved, we spent the last 8 – 9 weeks of our pregnancy stressing over whether we would be coming home with a healthy baby (or not) and constantly questioning whether we were doing the right thing by refusing to cooperate with the Drs and have a sweep or induction etc.

    In the end, I was 6 days overdue and our baby came naturally, weighing just over 9lbs. She actually weighed less than my last 3 children, even with being later to arrive than all of the others.

  11. I am in my 38 weeks and already feeling tired because of the stress associated with pregnancy and I begin to give induction a thought thank you Doctor now I know it’s worth waiting than been induced.

    1. Hang in there Mary! You will be tired after the baby is here too, that wont change, so you may as well wait to reduce the chance of complications, as long as baby and yourself are healthy.

  12. I’ll currently being pressured into induction but have been given two different EDD’s from 12wk and 20wk scan. I’m either 40+10 or 40+5 today The stress o I’m so angry that I’m being pressured into something that raises risk to me and baby based on arbitrary estimated dates despite my pregnancy being very low risk and both me and baby are perfectly healthy. The stress is surely not helping my oxytocin levels.

  13. So my son was born 4 days early, he was 8lbs 5oz. I had gestational diabetes. Now I’m on my second pregnancy, my due date is 2 days away. And they are predicting this baby to be bigger than my first. I was only 108lbs pre pregnancy and am very concerned of complications in having a big baby (over 9lbs). My sons shoulders got stuck in my first pregnancy and I pushed for 3 hours. Luckily he came out a healthy baby. But this baby is already arriving later than my first, and I’m concerned about complications. I was considering being induced even though I had always said I never would. The baby will come when he’s ready. Now I’m not so sure what to do. Help?

  14. Help please. My original EDD is for June 30 first ultrasound. My OB is insistant that the 2nd ultrasound is more accurate so based on that my EDD was June 24 which puts me at 40 +4. Most reasearch states that first US is more accurate. My OB wants to induce labour Jul 4 which would put me 10 days past due as oer EDD June 24. My concern is that throughout my whole pregnency O have gone witj June 30 EDD. What to do? I have had ane continue to have a healthy pregnency no complications.

  15. Thank you for an excellent article. And thank you to all for sharing your stories.
    We’re 40+1 with the induction talks beginning during today’s midwife checkup.
    From the off I’ve been researching about induction and the impact that the medicalisation of birth has on induction rates.
    Me and baby are healthy and have been throughout the entire pregnancy. Not even a moment of sickness.
    We’ve decided we want to proceed naturally (as long as baby continues to be healthy) and have conveyed this to the midwives. In turn they have provided advice on ‘managing the medicos’. Being informed is crucial. We’re also happy to have check ups to monitor baby over the next weeks.
    Its not until you do some digging that you realise the true risks and the probable outcomes of induction, especially for a first baby.
    EDD is <4% accurate by the medicinal fraternity's own admission, so why is it used as an instrument of coercion…? There was a study done that demonstrated up to 37d variance in delivery day even when the ovulation cycle and dates were known!
    It's the same scenario with cord blood donation. 'Un'-information and misinformation. Do your own research and uncover that cord blood donation means that you have authorised for your baby to sacrifice a third of their blood volume. Imagine doing that at the blood bank drive…
    Be informed. Research. Read widely.

  16. One other note: as a 46 year old man who was induced I can tell you that throughout my life I have always struggled with being late. I am never quite “ready” when others want me to be. I have noticed that my natural pace is always just a little slower than the average—but when I trust my instincts and take my time things always work out better for me. It’s interesting to me—whether it is showing up for appointments, finishing projects or keeping time with the yoga instructors breathing suggestions—I always find that my natural pace is slower and more thourogh than most people.
    Things have a natural rythm and a pace and life just works so much better when you let things ripen before you pluck them.

    I’m also “on the spectrum” although mildly so.

    I also just read some research that suggests it is the baby that signals the mother when it is ready to be born. This ties neatly into the feelings I have had of not being in control of my own life. I have felt like outside forces come in and control what happens to me (I was also sent to boarding school on the other side of the planet at age 8)—it’s only very recently that I have come to see that I can, to a very large degree, have control over my life and make things happen the way that I want.
    I feel that I am finally stepping into a way of being I the world where I am in charge, and although it’s taken a really long time, I finally feel like an adult and I’m really having a good time with life.

    I wonder how things might have been different.

    However, in that place of “knowing” —-that place of “intuition” I can say that it is strongly obvious to me that labor should not be induced. I know I was not ready and I know, given enough time I would have been born, perfectly healthy and ready to take on the world.

  17. HI everyone, I’m 40weeks today, I’m scheduled for an induction this evening and I’m a bit skeptical. I’m in my Final year in a school of Architecture, I discussed with my Dr concerning my Project defense in school scheduled for next week Monday, and knowing the invigilators would doubt I did the Project myself in this condition, and that may make me fail. I request for a membrane sweep and the Dr said he doesn’t believe in it. That he’d rather book me for an induction. Going through this article has made me skeptical. Do you think my reason is enough reason? And is it wise I go on with the induction??

    1. It is absolutely not meant to scare women. It is meant to inform women, as they are so often misled by their care providers about induction methods. Being informed is the best way to eliminate fear and make positive progress. Induction has its time and place but is too often done unnecessarily. This article is meant to help mothers in a decision making process that has a serious effect on both their health and their baby’s.

  18. I have stumbled across these articles, I was induced and I was wondering if my slow weight loss and still swollen tummy was the reason!

    Whilst reading through some of the articles I felt I must comment.
    I had my first daughter at 40! I have always been fit, healthy and I had an excellent pregnancy and labour.

    To our suprise I found myself pregnant at 43!! The pregnancy went well, my body felt a little more tired however fine! We paid for private scans and advanced testing for Down’s etc as we were scare mongered by the NHS due to age.

    All was fine, midwife check-ups good I was charting for another good sized baby. Prior to my midwife appointment at 36 weeks I had noticed my bump had not grown much however my baby had lowered herself and I assumed that was the reason. At the appointment at 36 weeks with my midwife she told me my baby hadn’t grown since last measuring, I went for a scan, we were so shocked as our baby girl was not measuring as she should have been. I didn’t want to be induced I wanted a normal labour like I had however, in the space of less than two weeks my baby girl had gone from 95 centile to below 10!

    I had no choice as my baby comes first! Due to my age the placenta wasn’t feeding her sufficiently. This I belive is fairly common with us older mums!!!

    My second daughter is perfect! She’s much smaller than her sister! My partner and I are very very lucky to have them both. I thank God, consultant, midwife that my baby girl arrived safely. My advice to older mums…. Do what you feel is right. When a consultant tells you inducement is best follow the advice, I knew he was right!

  19. I find some of the responses here really unhelpful. Just because refusing to be induced worked for some doesn’t mean it’s ‘female power’ to go against medical advice! Drs are doing their best and want a good outcome for mum and baby so I’m not sure encouraging other women to ignore a specialist’s advice is really empowering or actually just forcing your personal view into others. Being pregnant is confusing enough without every woman who pushed a baby out piping up, I think best to leave it to professionals and your OWN view not what other mums tell you!

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