Induction, also known as labor induction, is artificially stimulating childbirth. Methods of inducing labor include both pharmacological medication and mechanical or physical approaches.

Mechanical and physical approaches can include artificial rupture of membranes or membrane sweeping. The use of intrauterine catheters are also indicated. These work by compressing the cervix mechanically to generate release on prostaglandins in local tissues. There is no direct effect on the uterus.

Pharmacological methods are mainly using either dinoprostone (prostaglandin E2) or misoprostol (a prostaglandin E1 analogue)

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended against elective induction before 41 weeks if there is no medical indication and the cervix is unfavorable.

Inducing labor before 39 weeks in the absence of a medical indication, like hypertension, IUGR, or pre-eclampsia, increases the risk of complications of prematurity including difficulties with respiration, infection, feeding, jaundice, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and perinatal death.

The odds of having a vaginal delivery after labor induction are assessed by a “Bishop Score”. However, recent research has questioned the relationship between the Bishop score and a successful induction, finding that a poor Bishop score actually may improve the chance for a vaginal delivery after induction. A Bishop Score is done to assess the progression of the cervix prior to an induction. In order to do this, the cervix must be checked to see how much it has effaced, thinned out, and how far dilated it is. The score goes by a points system depending on five factors. Each factor is scored on a scale of either 0-2 or 0–3, any score that adds up to be less than 5 holds a higher risk of delivering by cesarean section.

Suggested reading:
Labor Induction (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

Labor induction. (2016, June 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:04, June 18, 2016, from