In the past, inducing labor in normal full-term pregnancies had a negative reputation. Some studies showed that labor induction lead to a higher probability of a cesarean section. But, The New York Times reported on a study by Thomas Jefferson’s Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of maternal and fetal medicine, that inducing labor in full term, uncomplicated pregnancies is safe and can even be beneficial. “We have the preliminary data saying that what we thought about induction – that it led to increased C-sections – is wrong” said Dr. Berghella, lead author of the study that appeared in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The results of this study were found by pooling data from five randomized, controlled trials which involved 884 women with full-term single-child uncomplicated deliveries at 39 to 41 weeks gestation. No association between induction and higher risk of C-sections was found but considerably less blood loss for the mother and lower risk of infection for the baby and mother was observed in women whose labor was induced. Although induction before 39 weeks gestation is not advised, Dr. Berghella said “induction is safe and effective, even in cases without other complications of pregnancy.” However, says Berghella, final word on this topic will have to wait until the results of an ongoing multi-centered clinical trial from the NIH is published.