Labor induction is when an external agent is employed to stimulate contractions before the onset of spontaneous labor.
Labor augmentation uses the same techniques as labor induction but uterine contractions (frequency, duration and strength) are enhanced once labor has started.
Labor induction is generally indicated when the benefits of delivery outweigh the risks of continuing the pregnancy.
Women at 42 weeks of gestation who chose not to undergo labor induction should be monitored more often with at least twice-weekly assessment of fetal well-being (cardiotocography & estimation of maximum amniotic pool depth by ultrasound).

Patient Education

  • Patient should be informed that most women will go into spontaneous labor by 42 weeks
  • She should be made aware of the risks involved should pregnancy continue by >42 weeks and offered options such as membrane sweeping, expectant management and labor induction between 41 and 42 weeks
  • The following should be explained to the patient:
    • Reason for the induction
    • Time, place and method of the induction
    • Risks and benefits of the proposed method of induction
    • Possibility that induced labor is likely to be more painful than spontaneous labor and the availability of pain relief options
    • Other options should patient decide not to undergo induction
    • That induction may fail and what would be the next step should this happen
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