Pros and Cons of Inducing Labor

As an expectant mother nearing your due date, you may have doubts about the timing and method of delivery. Your healthcare provider may suggest labor induction in specific situations. This involves utilizing medicine or other techniques to initiate labor rather than waiting for it to begin on its own. Labor induction is typically suggested when either the mother or the baby has a condition that could lead to complications before or during labor. However, some women who don't have any of these conditions choose to have an elective induction as well. Before everything, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of inducing labor so you can decide whether it's the best option for you.

What does inducing labor mean?

Inducing labor is the process of intentionally starting labor by means other than natural contractions. It may involve inducing a woman’s body to produce hormones that cause labor or using tools to physically stimulate the cervix.

What are the Different ways to induce labor?

There are several different methods used to induce labor, depending on the individual situation. These include taking medication or undergoing medical procedures.

Medication: The most commonly prescribed medications for inducing labor are oxytocin (brand name Pitocin) and prostaglandins (such as Dinoprostone). Both of these medications work by stimulating contractions in the uterus.

Medical Procedures: Medical procedures can also be used to induce labor. These may include stripping the membranes around the cervix, artificial rupture of membranes (also known as breaking water), Amniotomy, and cervical ripening agents.

Exercises: Although exercising has no proven effect on inducing labor, it is highly beneficial for both your health and your pregnancy. It can reduce the chances of Gestational diabetes and avoid C-sections. It's generally safe to exercise throughout pregnancy, but it's recommended to consult your doctor before following any new exercise routine.

Pineapple: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which is known for breaking down proteins. Because of this property, it is commonly used in meat tenderizers. Some believe that bromelain can also help to induce labor by softening the cervix.

However, there is no scientific evidence to support this theory. It is important to note that while bromelain may be effective in breaking down meat, it is not very active in the human body. Additionally, consuming pineapple during pregnancy may worsen heartburn.

What are the Pros of Inducing Labor?

Inducing labor can be beneficial in certain circumstances. Some of the potential advantages of labor induction include:

1. Lower Chances of Perinatal Death

Inducing labor can be beneficial for the health of both mother and baby. Studies have demonstrated that inducing labor can reduce the risk of stillbirth or other perinatal death.

2. Lower Risk of Complications

By inducing labor, you can reduce the chances of complications such as postpartum hemorrhage, infection, and preterm delivery. It’s a suitable delivery method for women with weight gain, varicose veins, back pain, and even sleep issues.

3. Increased Comfort

For some women, induced labor results in shorter and more manageable labors than if they went into spontaneous labor. This can lead to an increased sense of comfort during the birth process.

4. It's the best Alternative to C-Section

Inducing labor can be a safer alternative to a C-section, that’s why the percentage of women preferring it has increased from 9.6% (1990) to 37.8% (2018). In some cases, induction may avoid an emergency C-section due to medical complications.

What are the Cons of Inducing Labor?

Like all medical procedures, inducing labor has its own potential disadvantages of inducing labor that should be taken into consideration. Some of these include:

1. Increased Pain

For some women, induced labor can result in intense pain and discomfort during contractions and delivery. This is because the process of induction causes contractions to become more intense than they would normally be in spontaneous labor.

2. Longer Labor

A downside to inducing labor is that it often results in longer labors than those which occur naturally. It can also increase the chances of an episiotomy or forceps delivery.

3. Increased Risk of Complications

Induction can lead to an increased risk of certain complications, such as fetal distress, uterine rupture, infection, and preterm birth.

4. Side Effects from Medication

There are potential side effects associated with the medications used to induce labor. These include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.


It is important to have a good understanding of the different pros and cons of inducing labor before you have your final say. However, this should ultimately be a personal choice influenced by their medical care provider. Ultimately, all that matters is that you and the baby are safe during the birthing process.

Regardless of what path they choose, mothers should not be made to feel ashamed or guilty for their birthing decisions. Every woman deserves as dignified and straightforward birth as possible. Sharing experiences with other parents can offer comfort and guidance when it comes to making such an important decision.

Women should ensure that they take the time to create an environment suitable for them so that they are able to choose the right way of birthing for themselves and their baby’s safety. If you need more help or advice on induced labor please consult your doctor or healthcare provider who can provide more guidance tailored specifically for you and your pregnancy journey.

Pros and Cons of Inducing Labor

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the downside of inducing labor?

Labor induction raises the possibility of uterine atony, where the uterine muscles may not contract properly after childbirth, leading to significant bleeding after delivery. Serious bleeding occasionally requires blood products.

Is it better to be induced or wait?

It is crucial to avoid inducing labor before at least 39 weeks of pregnancy, as babies born prematurely might face more health issues both at and after birth when compared to full-term babies. Therefore, for a healthy pregnancy, it is best to allow labor to commence naturally.

Is induction worse than natural?

Induced labor can be more painful than natural labor due to the type of induction. This may cause discomfort during the procedure or result in more intense and longer contractions from the medication.

Is C section better than induction?

Inducing labor can decrease the baby's size and reduce the chances of having a Cesarean delivery. If the baby is expected to be large, choosing to have a Cesarean section has few risks and many benefits.

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