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Induction of labour...

With over a third (32.6%) of all births in the UK now being medically induced, one might be forgiven for thinking perhaps somewhere along the line, our bodies lost the ability to safely carry our baby’s to term and give birth without medical intervention.

For a small minority of women, induction of labour without doubt saves babies lives and of course is a medically appropriate intervention.

We are extremely fortunate to have modern technologies and medicines that promote health and save lives. But for many women experiencing a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy, we must question whether induction of labour is really beneficial for mother and baby? Or does interference with birth (a natural physiological process) become the route cause of so many postpartum complications?

In a recent study published by Dahlen et al (2021) the researchers concluded that “induction of labour for non medical reasons, was associated with higher birth interventions, particularly for primiparous women (women having their first baby), and more adverse maternal, neonatal and child outcomes for most variables assessed.” Furthermore, “women with uncomplicated pregnancies who had their labour induced had higher rates of epidural/spinal analgesia, Caesarean section (accept for multiparous women induced between 37 to 40 weeks gestation), instrumental birth, episiotomy and postpartum haemorrhage than women with a similar risk profile who went into labour spontaneously.”

Anecdotally, true informed consent given for induction is rare; women aren’t given enough opportunity to explore the real reason as to why induction is “safer” for them, than going into spontaneous labour and as such open themselves up to experiencing a potential cascade of interventions, not to mention the long standing psychological impact this experience may bring.

For the full study please visit:

Have you been offered an induction of labour?

If so, perhaps you might consider…

• Do I fully understand why I have been offered IOL?

• Do I feel comfortable with the answer provided by my care providers as to the reasons for IOL?

• Is this inline with my values and beliefs about birth?

• Do I understand the implications/possible risks of not going ahead with IOL?

• Do I understand the IOL process?

• Do I feel my care providers are offering me individualised care?

It can feel really overwhelming making such an important decision about your baby’s arrival, particularly when you are feeling your most vulnerable. Take on board professional opinion and educate yourself with the facts… and do birth your way! Only you know what feels right for you and your baby.

For more information to support you in your decision making check out:

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