Induction of labour

Artificially starting labour towards the end of pregnancy is called an induction

You might be offered an induction to avoid your pregnancy going on past 42 weeks. A prolonged pregnancy increases the risk that the baby could become unwell or, sadly, die, as the placenta can’t always support the baby healthily past 42 weeks

You should also be offered an induction if your waters have broken but labour hasn’t started

Older women and those with some medical conditions (such as gestational diabetes or raised blood pressure), may be offered induction before 42 weeks

If you are offered an induction of labour, ask about

  • Why induction is being recommended
  • How labour will be started
  • How labour is likely to be different from labour that starts naturally
  • Whether you will have to stay in hospital
  • Pain relief
  • What will happen if labour doesn’t start or you choose not to have the induction
More information

The NHS has produced a helpful webpage with information about the induction of labour and what you can expect  


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has produced guidance for inductions in the NHS