Unnecessary labor induction increases risk of complications: study

March 29, 2012

A University of Adelaide study has revealed that inducing labor in pregnant women when it's not medically necessary is more likely to result in complications at birth.

Elective induction is becoming more common around the world, with many women being induced for social and other non-medical reasons.

Dr Rosalie Grivell from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute has studied the data of more than 28,000 births from across South Australia, from 2006 to 2007.

She compared cases in which women had undergone spontaneous onset of , induction of labor for recognized medical reasons, and induction of labor for "non-recognized" reasons.

Compared with women who entered labor spontaneously, induction for non-recognized reasons was associated with a 67% increased chance of requiring a .

It also significantly increased the chance of the requiring nursery care in a Special Care Baby Unit (an increased risk of 64%) or requiring treatment (an increased risk of 44%) compared with infants born following spontaneous onset of labor.

"Our research is aimed at better understanding the optimal timing and management of labor and birth for women with an uncomplicated pregnancy," Dr Grivell said.

"We hope our findings will increase awareness of the potential harmful effects that elective induction can have on both women and their infants. In the absence of serious maternal or fetal problems or a medical recommendation, induction of labor is best avoided."

Dr Grivell said the lowest risk of adverse complications both for mother and baby occurred with the spontaneous onset of labor between 38 and 39 weeks.

"While a natural birth is not always possible for women who already have in pregnancy, the results of this study suggest that for whose pregnancy is uncomplicated, awaiting the spontaneous onset of labor is best," Dr Grivell said.

Explore further: New method of managing risk in pregnancy leads to healthier newborns, better outcomes for moms

More information: This study has been published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

Related Stories

Team finds labor induction need not increase cesarean risk

August 17, 2009

Contrary to a belief widely held by obstetricians, inducing labor need not increase a woman's risk for cesarean section delivery in childbirth, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and the Stanford University ...

Reduced baby risk from another cesarean

March 13, 2012

A major study led by the University of Adelaide has found that women who have had one prior cesarean can lower the risk of death and serious complications for their next baby - and themselves - by electing to have another ...

Recommended for you

New technique takes guesswork out of IVF embryo selection

August 25, 2016

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have successfully trialed a new technique that could aid the process of choosing the "best" embryo for implantation, helping to boost the chances of pregnancy success from the very ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.