Skip to main content

Induction of labour

person in a maternity bed with healthcare staff surrounding

An induced labour is one that's started artificially. Every year, one in five labours are induced in the UK.

Sometimes labour can be induced if your baby is overdue or there's any risk to you or your baby's health.

This risk could be if you have a health condition such as high blood pressure, for example, or your baby is not growing.

Induction will usually be planned in advance. You'll be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your doctor and midwife, and find out why they think your labour should be induced.

It's your choice whether to have your labour induced or not.

If your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks and you decide not to have your labour induced, you should be offered increased monitoring to check your baby's wellbeing.

Reasons you may be induced

You may be induced if you are overdue, your waters have broken or your baby may have a health problem.

Induction of labour information

There are many reasons why your labour may need to be induced which will be discussed with you by your midwife or doctor. It is important that you understand why you are being offered an induction of labour so if you are unsure, please ask the person who is booking it for you to explain further. The aim of this leaflet is to help prepare you for what to expect during the induction of labour process.


What is induction of labour?

Induction of labour is the process used to start labour artificially. The aim is to help ripen your cervix to prepare it for labour. Your cervix is the bottom part of your uterus (neck of the womb) that opens to allow the baby to move from your uterus and down the birth canal to be born.

During pregnancy your cervix is long, closed and firm. Towards the end of your pregnancy, it softens or ripens. As you go into labour it will soften more, get shorter and open up (dilate).

It is not unusual for induction to take up to four to five days although this is different for everyone.

Please bring plenty of snacks and things to keep you occupied. You are welcome to bring your  laptop or tablet, but we do ask that you use headphones, so you don’t disturb the other people in your bay.



Find out more...



Follow us on: