Induction of labour

Use of artificial means to initiate childbirth when the health of the mother or baby would be at risk if pregnancy continued. The most common reason for inducing labour is that the pregnancy has continued past the estimated delivery date, which increases the chance of complications during childbirth. Other reasons for induction are pre-eclampsia, Rhesus incompatibility, or intrauterine growth retardation. Different methods of induction are used, depending on the stage of labour: a prostaglandin pessary may be inserted into the vagina to encourage the cervix to open; if the cervix is already open, the membranes containing the fetus may be ruptured; or the hormone oxytocin may be given intravenously to stimulate uterine contractions.


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