<strong>Inducing Labour: Reasons, Types, And Risk Factors</strong>

Inducing Labour: Reasons, Types, And Risk Factors

20 May 2022 | 5 min Read

Medically reviewed by

Author | Articles

It is common for many mums, especially first-time mothers to watch their baby’s due date come and go, without experiencing the tiniest hint of labour symptoms or contractions. As you go farther away from the expected delivery date (EDD), you may find yourself becoming more anxious, and wondering what’s wrong and when will your baby come?

An overdue pregnancy can feel challenging, as you have to constantly deal with swollen feet and hands, low energy, and a huge belly that makes movement and agility difficult. In this case, your doctor will consider giving your body a little nudge, and inducing labour so that you can meet your little bundle of joy soon.

Read on to know more about what the process of labour induction entails, when is it done, and what are the associated risks. 

What Is Labour Induction?

What Is Labour Induction?
Labour induction is a process that externally stimulates your body to go into labour and prepare for delivery / Image credit: Freepik

Labour induction is a process where your doctor uses different methods to help your body go into labour and initiate the delivery. This process typically involves using medicinal or surgical methods to stimulate your uterus into contracting before labour begins naturally to prepare for a vaginal delivery. 

Why Would Your Doctor Consider Inducing Labour?

Your healthcare provider might recommend inducing labour for various reasons, especially when there’s a concern for the mother or the baby’s health. They may suggest this process if:

  • Your labour hasn’t started naturally even after 1-2 weeks past your due date
  • Labour doesn’t begin even after water breaking
  • You have an infection in the uterus
  • When there’s too little amniotic fluid surrounding your baby (oligohydramnios)
  • You have developed diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • When there are problems with your placenta, such as placental abruption
  • When your baby is not growing at an expected rate (fetal growth restriction)
  • You have a medical condition, such as obesity or a kidney disease

What are the Different Methods of Inducing Labour?

What are the Different Methods of Inducing Labour?
Your doctor might decide on the method of labour induction based on your and your baby’s health / Image credit: Freepik

Some methods of inducing labour are considered less invasive and carry fewer risks than others. Your doctor may advise the following methods of labour induction to get your contractions started.

  • Stripping the fluid membranes: For this procedure, your doctor will put on a glove and insert their finger into your vagina and through the cervix. Then, they will move their finger back and forth to separate the thin membrane connecting the amniotic sac to the wall of your uterus. When the membranes are stripped, your body will release a hormone called prostaglandins, which will help prepare your cervix for delivery by inducing contractions. 
  • Breaking your water (amniotomy): Your doctor will rupture the amniotic sac with a little plastic hook and break the membranes. This will cause fluid to gush out of your vagina and initiate contractions.
  • Injecting oxytocin hormone to stimulate contractions: Your doctor will administer n IV consisting of the oxytocin hormone to spur labour and bring on contractions. 

What Does Labour Induction Feel Like?

The effects of the labour induction methods may vary. For instance, the process of stripping fluid membranes may feel a little painful and uncomfortable. You may also experience intense cramping or spotting for the next day or two. Water breaking may also feel uncomfortable, where you experience a tug, followed by a warm trickle or gush of fluid.

If you have been administered oxytocin, then you may have more frequent and strong contractions as compared to the one that starts naturally.

What are the Risks of Labour Induction?

What are the Risks of Labour Induction?
There are many risks associated with labour induction, such as heavy bleeding after delivery / Image credit: Freepik

Labour induction isn’t considered safe for everyone. It carries some level of risk and may also have uncomfortable side effects. Some of the risks associated with this process include

  • Failed induction: Your labour induction might be considered a failure if the methods used to induce contractions do not result in vaginal birth after 24 hours or more. In this case, your healthcare provider might consider a c-section.
  • Low fetal heart rate: The medicines used to induce labour, such as oxytocin, may cause excessive or abnormal contractions, resulting in reduced oxygen supply to the baby, and lowering their heart rate.
  • Infection: Certain labour induction methods, such as rupturing the membranes, might increase the risk of infection in both the mum and the baby.
  • Bleeding after delivery: Using labour induction methods may prevent your uterine muscles from contracting after childbirth. This can result in severe bleeding after delivery and other complications. 


While your doctor may not recommend inducing labour as the first option, they may take this route if there are health complications surrounding you or your baby. Since this process comes with its own set of risks, make sure to discuss the details of labour induction method with your doctor carefully, and take necessary safety measures as guided. 

If you and your baby aren’t at a health risk, then it’s best you wait it out, and let your body go into labour naturally. This will keep you and your little one protected from the side effects of induced labour and maintain a smooth and stress-free labour and childbirth experience. 

Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com



Suggestions offered by doctors on BabyChakra are of advisory nature i.e., for educational and informational purposes only. Content posted on, created for, or compiled by BabyChakra is not intended or designed to replace your doctor's independent judgment about any symptom, condition, or the appropriateness or risks of a procedure or treatment for a given person.