Labor Induction Green-light

Obese women in addition to older women have an increased incidence of cesarean sections

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Those last two weeks of pregnancy are quite miserable for most women. Bloatedness can flat kill your appetite for life. How about when your obstetrician decides to induces labor?

Debates questioning whether induction of labor creates more incidences of emergency cesarean section have been put to rest by a recent research study. 

"Induction of labor is safe after week pregnancy week 39."

Ole Bredahl Rasmussen, MD, of Herning Hospital in Denmark and Steen Rasmussen from the Danish Medical Birth Registry, have analyzed data from the Danish Birth Registry, one of the largest such registries in the world, reports after having examined this data, induction of labor does not lead to a greater risk of emergency cesarean sections

The publication in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (AOGS) reports that obstetricians need to take gestational length into account when labor induction is used. According to this study, inducing labor either at term, a week before and a week after does not increase the likelihood of an eventual cesarean section.

Dr. Rasmussen's study indicates that inducing labor during any of these three weeks is perfectly acceptable. 

This large study compared both women who were having their first birth as well as women who had previously had one child. Data from 230,528 deliveries between 2004 and 2009 were used.

Overall, 15% of the deliveries were induced and c-section rates were in fact higher among the induced compared to spontaneous labors. After a necessary adjustment for factors like age, parity, smoking and use of epidural analgesia in addition to adjusting for each gestational week, the study results showed that an induction did not increase a woman's chance of having a cesarean section as long as the pregnant woman was induced in weeks 39, 40 or 41.

Additionally, the study confirmed that more obese women and older women have an increased incidence of having a cesarean section.

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Review Date: 
June 20, 2011
Last Updated:
June 22, 2011