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Induction of Labor

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is induction of labor?

Induction of labor is a procedure to induce (start) your labor before it begins on its own. Medicines and other methods are used to start contractions and help your cervix soften, thin (efface), and dilate (open). You may be given antibiotics to fight a bacterial infection you have or prevent an infection during delivery.

Why might I need induction of labor?

What happens during induction of labor?

Your healthcare provider may use one or more of the following to induce labor:

What are the risks of induction of labor?

Medicines used to induce labor may cause too many contractions. This can lower your baby's heartbeat and decrease his or her oxygen supply. Induction of labor also increases the risk of umbilical cord prolapse. This condition causes the umbilical cord to slip back into the vagina before delivery. It can compress the cord and decrease your baby's oxygen supply. Medical induction may cause an infection in you or your baby. Medical induction may also increase your risk for a cesarean section (C-section), especially if it is the first time you give birth. Your uterus may rupture if you have had a C-section before.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.