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Mechanical Induction of Labor


  • Mechanical induction of labor is a procedure to induce (start) labor before it begins on its own. Your cervix prepares (ripens) for giving birth by softening, thinning, and dilating (opening). Your cervix is the lower part of your uterus (womb). Your uterus also contracts (tightens) to help move your unborn baby into the vagina (birth canal). Mechanical induction puts pressure on your cervix to ripen your cervix and start your labor. You may need mechanical induction if you are past your due date, and your cervix is not ripening. You may need an induction if you have high blood pressure or diabetes (high blood sugar). If you have an infection or vaginal bleeding, you may also need to be induced.
  • Before your due date, you may need mechanical induction if your unborn baby is no longer growing in your uterus. Induction may be needed if your amniotic fluid levels are low, or your amniotic fluid sac breaks too soon. The amniotic fluid sac surrounds and protects your unborn baby in the uterus. You may be induced if an unborn baby died in your uterus during a past pregnancy. Induction may also be done if your blood type does not match your unborn baby's blood type. Mechanical induction of labor may help resolve health problems caused by your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure. Mechanical induction may help prepare your body for delivery. Induction may help decrease harm to you and your unborn baby, and allow a safe delivery.


Waiting for labor to start:

Talk to your caregiver about what activities you are able to do at home. Ask your caregiver for information about signs that your labor is starting. Make sure you know what to do if your labor begins at home. Ask your caregiver when to call if your labor does not begin.


  • You have clear fluid leaking out of your vagina.
  • You have discomfort in your stomach or vaginal area that does not go away.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.


  • You suddenly have trouble breathing.
  • Your lips or nails turn blue.
  • Your heart is beating faster than what is normal for you.
  • You have new, or increased bleeding from your vagina.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have white or yellow vaginal drainage.
  • You have four or more contractions (labor pains) in 30 minutes.

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.

Further information

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