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Induction of labour

Induction of labour occurs when a doctor uses a method to artificially bring on labour. 

This is an important, common and complex decision. 

The decision to induce your birth involves careful assessment of your health and that of your baby. An assessment is made of how ready your body is for labour. Finally, and most importantly, a discussion is had to ascertain your wishes for your birth. 

What are some of the reasons you might be induced?

There is a long list of complications of pregnancy that can mean your birth needs to occur sooner, rather than waiting for it to spontaneously occur. Induction of labour reasons can include:

  • A prolonged pregnancy (where the pregnancy reaches 41 weeks or more)
  • High Blood Pressure (pre-eclampsia)
  • Evidence of placental function declining (for example, the babies growth has slowed or stopped)
  • Reducing amniotic fluid volume
  • Diabetes and other medical disorders
  • Maternal exhaustion and or depression
  • The unexpected onset of bleeding late in pregnancy.
  • It is not unusual for a woman to request induction also: for example, there may be pressing family concerns near the due date, you may live a significant distance from the hospital, or your partner may have limited time due to external work commitments. 

Please feel free to raise concerns you may have regarding the timing of your birth or discuss questions you have about induction of labour.

How do I know if my body is almost ready for labour or not?

A careful physical examination is undertaken. In particular the position of the baby’s head in relation to your pelvis (has the baby “dropped” or not) and the ripeness of your cervix. A gentle vaginal examination is performed to assess your cervix. This is to check if your cervix is “ripe” or not. A score of ripeness out of 10 can be given (called a Bishop’s score), which then allows a plan to be made as to how best to perform your induction.

Make an appointment to discuss your pregnancy and/or birth with Obstetrician Dr Peter England.