Although induction of labor (IOL) has increased over the years, corresponding improvements in perinatal outcomes have not occurred. IOL may result in increased risks for mother and baby, due to factors like gestational age (GA), Bishop score of cervix, and the methods used. Failed IOL resulting in increased cesarean sections may be due to unripe cervix, inadequate Pitocin use, and incorrect patient choice. Medically indicated IOL does not require awaiting 39 weeks GA. Nonmedically indicated IOL prior to 39 weeks GA may result in neonatal morbidity. Patients at 39 weeks GA can be induced electively and need not await labor. Cervical ripening methods include vaginal, oral, or IV medications and can be administered as outpatients rather than in hospitals, in order to decrease financial and time constraints. Ethical issues regarding indications, GA, choice of agent, location of cervical ripening, and failed IOL can have an impact on healthcare resources.
Part of the book: Childbirth