The Risks and Benefits of Labor Inductions

Is the increase in labor inductions for medical reasons or personal preference? Whatever the case, you should know the risks and the benefits.

A Product of Our Times

Chances are, you know someone who's had her labor induced. I know I do. Just this year, my neighbor, my friend, and my sister-in-law were all induced. Another acquaintance, due in late December, had her induction date scheduled two months in advance. "I was booked for December 21," says Tiffany Metzger of Mayville, Wisconsin. "That way, I didn't have to worry about being in the hospital over Christmas."

Labor induction -- the process of artificially starting labor -- is an increasingly common procedure. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, twice as many women were induced in 1997 as in 1989 (18 percent versus 9 percent). By 2003, the induction rate had risen to 20.6 percent, or about 1 in 5 births.

Experts say the increased induction rate is a product of our times. Advances in medical technology combined with our fast-paced lives mean that more babies are being delivered according to schedule. But like any medical procedure, induction has inherent risks. Getting the facts will help you determine if an induction is right for you.

Labor & Delivery: Inducing Labor
Labor & Delivery: Inducing Labor

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