Many people in society believe that induction of labour is virtually a 'risk free' intervention. However, once the natural process of labour and birth has been disturbed (particularly if there are no medical complications), there is a significant increase in the risks and problems that can manifest.
Unfortunately, it is rare for the chosen induction method to be used in isolation. What commonly occurs is a lead-on effect to further interventions (sometimes needed to deal with the side effects of the induction). This is often referred to as 'the cascade of intervention', or a chain of events that carry on form the initial procedure. The 'cascade' may be an accepted part of induction for some women and caregivers, but the motivating reason to want to avoid an induction (if possible) by others.
For some women who come away from their induction experience dissatisfied, a common complaint can be "I wouldn't have accepted the induction if I had known it would lead to this". Therefore, the following information is aimed at giving you some basic information surrounding the issues that are usually associated with induction. The information in itself is not meant to scare you, nor is it meant to discourage you from accepting an induction for medical complications. In these circumstances, the risks of induction usually far outweigh the risks involved with continuing the pregnancy. Also, bear in mind that while the following outcomes are possible, they are not inevitable, and there will be many women who are induced without any additional interventions or complications.
For parents planning an induction, we have also included some positive support strategies to help minimise the 'cascade effect'. For parents considering an elective induction (for no medical reasons), the information may help you make a more informed decision.
Risks and problems that can be associated with induction can include:
Restricted movement and being monitored
A more intense labour and an increased need for pain relief
Overstimulating the uterus and fetal distress
Last revised: Monday, 26 November 2012
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.