Inducing Labor

Most pregnant women will go into labor naturally but sometimes, a doctor may need to induce (bring about) labor to protect the health of the mother and the baby.

Some specific reasons for inducing labor include:

  • The pregnancy has lasted more than 42 weeks and labor has not yet begun or there is concern about the baby or mother's health.
  • A woman's water has broken but labor has not begun on its own
  • Infection inside the uterus
  • Insufficient amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby
  • Complications, such as high blood pressure or preeclampsia
  • Health problems in the mother, such as kidney disease or diabetes

There are a number of methods your doctor may choose to induce labor including the use of medicines and other methods to open the cervix, stimulate contractions, and prepare for vaginal birth.

Occasionally women will request an induction of labor when there are no actual indications for delivery before spontaneous labor begins. If a request for an induction of labor is granted it should rarely performed before the 39th week (one week before your due date) and only if conditions are favorable for a successful vaginal birth.

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