Labor Induction

At Banner Health our goal is to work with you to create the best birthing experience possible. Part of that process may include labor induction. Rest assured that we are here to help you every step of the way.

What Is Labor Induction?

Labor induction, or inducing labor, is a medical procedure that uses medication or other methods to start labor. 

Reasons for Labor Induction

Labor induction may be recommended if the health of the mother or baby is at risk. Reasons may include:

  • You’re two or more weeks past your due date
  • Your water has broken but labor has not started
  • Gestational diabetes
  • You have placental abruption – your placenta has peeled away from the uterus
  • Other medical conditions such as an infection, high blood pressure disorders or kidney disease

If labor is induced for non-medical reasons it is called an elective induction. Banner Health doctors are careful about elective inductions. We believe that, in most cases, it’s best for babies to be born as close to their due dates as possible. 

Our doctors follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines. These guidelines outline the standards for elective inductions. Generally, you must be at 39 or more weeks of gestation, and your cervix must be soft and dilated.

What to Expect

There are several different methods used to induce labor.

  • Ripening the cervix - A dose of prostaglandin is inserted vaginally or given by mouth. This is typically done overnight to help “soften” or thin out the cervix.
  • Breaking your water - Your doctor will rupture the amniotic sac using a small plastic hook.
  • Stripping the membranes - Using his or her finger, your doctor will manually thin out the membrane connecting to the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus.
  • Using medication - Hormones are administered through an IV.

Labor Induction Risk Factors and Side Effects

While labor induction can often be successful without complications, studies have shown that inducing labor before your cervix is ready can increase several risks. These risks include:

  • Failed induction – this could lead to needing a c-section
  • Longer labor
  • Use of forceps or vacuum
  • Overstimulation of the uterus, causing too many contractions
  • Infection for you or baby
  • Excessive bleeding after delivery

If you have a successful vaginal delivery after induction, chances are there will be no risks for future pregnancies.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about labor induction and how it may affect your labor and delivery plan.