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Induction of labour

Induction of labour is a process used to encourage labour to start artificially. An induction is usually recommended by a midwife or a doctor when it is agreed that mother and/or baby will benefit from it. An induction may also be recommended if there are fewer risks to mother or baby with induction, than if the pregnancy is left to continue naturally.

There are many reasons why an induction might be indicated and the reasons for induction should be fully discussed and explained to you when an induction is offered. We would encourage you to ask a midwife/doctor if you are unsure about any of the information you have been given.

How will labour be induced?

There are a number of methods that may be used to induce your labour. Sometimes more than one method will be needed. What methods used will depend on your individual circumstance including your current pregnancy, previous pregnancy/birth, medical background, and findings from a vaginal examination which will reveal how soft/open your cervix is. Methods of induction include:

How long will induction take?

It is important to remember that the induction process cannot be rushed and that each method is given the time it needs to take effect. Some women find they respond quite quickly to the methods, but for others this can be a longer process sometimes up to 5 days.

What happens if induction of labour fails?

In a small number of cases induction of labour is not successful following repeated attempts. This will be discussed with your obstetrician and a plan of birth will be put into place.

Whether your labour is induced or not, giving birth is a great achievement.