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Whether your doctor brought up the possibility of labor induction after you passed your due date or for medical reasons, or you are thinking about an elective induction yourself, there are certainly pros and cons related to labor induction. There are situations in which induction can be life-saving, but there are also situations in which it is a bad idea. What are some of the pros and cons of inducing labor?

Pros

  • In some situations, like preeclampsia, a baby needs to be born as soon as possible to prevent risk to mother and baby.
  • Augmentation with induction medications like Pitocin can get a stalled labor going again.
  • If your water has broken and you are not having contractions, the risk of infection increases. Induction can get your labor going and alleviate that risk.
  • Labor induction can reduce the chance of having a cesarean section in some cases. In other words, induction is sometimes used as an alternative to c-sections.
  • Augmentation can speed up a very long labor, which can be hard on mother and baby.
  • There are even cases in which an elective induction for non-medical reasons is warranted if your husband is in the military and is about to deploy, induction may enable him to attend his baby's birth, for instance.

Cons

  • Labor induction drugs carry side effects, including a higher risk of fetal distress.
  • Induced labors tend to be much more painful that natural labors. If you are induced, you may want to think about epidural anesthesia.
  • Induced labors require higher levels of monitoring, meaning you will probably be stuck in a hospital bed instead of being able to move around.
  • Failed inductions can lead to c-sections.
  • Early inductions can lead to premature babies. See 'Is it time to rethink what "full term pregnancy" means?' for a recent study into the ideal gestational age.

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