Unnecessary labor induction increases risk of complications: study

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.

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team finds labor induction need not increase cesarean risk

Aug 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 ...

Recommended for you

Eating disorders linked to adverse perinatal outcomes

Oct 22, 2014

(HealthDay)—Maternal eating disorders are associated with adverse pregnancy, obstetric, and perinatal health outcomes, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & ...

Large variation in cesarean rates across US hospitals

Oct 21, 2014

Cesarean delivery is the most common inpatient surgery in the United States. US cesarean rates increased from 20.7% in 1996 to 32.9% in 2009 but have since stabilized, with 1.3 million American women having had a cesarean ...

User comments