Induction of labour

When induction of labour is being considered, a doctor or midwife will discuss the reason why induction may be necessary and explain the procedure involved. You may be offered a vaginal assessment and membrane sweep to stimulate spontaneous labour.

Induction means having your labour started artificially. There are several reasons why induction may be required but the most common are:

  • Your baby is overdue i.e. 10 – 12days past your due date
  • Your membranes have ruptured (waters break) but uterine contractions have not started
  • It is in the interest of the mother or baby’s health that the baby is delivered.

Labour can be induced by:

  • Inserting a drug called propress into the vagina
  • Artificially rupturing the membranes (breaking the waters – the bag of fluid which surrounds the baby is perforated during vaginal examination)
  • An intravenous drip that contains an artificial hormone (syntocinon) to start contractions.

If induction is required, you will be given an appointment to attend the maternity unit. Induction can be a fast or slow process, sometimes lasting two to three days and occasionally fails resulting in a caesarean section.

The Induction Rooms have two or four beds. When your labour is established, you will be moved into a single room.

When labour is induced, the contractions are often stronger and more painful than natural contractions and can increase the need for pain relief. Continuous electronic monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat is an essential part of the induction process.