Medically the review by Holly Ernst, P.A. — created by Lori Smith, MSN, BSN, WHNP-BC on march 12, 2019

Most pregnancies that involve just one baby last around 40 weeks indigenous the very first day that the woman’s critical menstrual period. Many gestation pregnancies may vary in their duration.

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It is usually finest to keep a pregnant for as lengthy as the is safely possible to allow for ongoing growth and also weight gain and fetal brain, liver, and lung development. Every one of these processes are vital for the health of a newborn.

Infants who room born prior to 39 mainly are more likely to suffer complications, such together breathing difficulties, vision and hearing problems, gift unable to remain warm, and also feeding difficulties, amongst other wellness problems.

However, if a baby is born after ~ 42 weeks, other problems can arise. Because that this reason, a doctor will occasionally recommend inducing labor.

Why might it be ideal to induce labor?

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The American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) introduce classifying full-term pregnancies in one of 4 ways.

The categories are:

Early-term: distribution occurs in between 37 weeks and also 38 weeks and 6 days.Full-term: delivery takes place after 39 weeks but prior to 40 weeks and 6 days.Later-term: distribution is in ~ 6 work after 41 weeks.Post-term: distribution happens at any kind of time after week 42.

Doctors perform not know why part women have post-term deliveries, yet a 2012 study suggests that feasible reasons might include:

hormonal factorsgenetic factors, together parents who were born article term show up to be much more likely to have actually a post-term deliveryhaving a baby for the first time

Preventing the threats of a post-term delivery

Post-term pregnancies may lug a greater risk of delivery complications.

Risks to the baby include:

increased fetal size, which can make injury an ext likely throughout deliveryinhaling fecal waste, which can lead to lung troubles in the newbornthe aging of the placenta and low pH levels in the umbilical cord, leading to neonatal acidemia (low blood pH)issues developing from growth restriction in the womb, such as wrinkled, peeling skin and a slim body due to malnourishment

Risks to the mrs include:

the need for a cesarean deliverya greater chance the tearing when giving birthan obstructed, slow, or delayed labor
When will a physician recommend inducing labor?

In some situations, a doctor may recommend inducing, or bringing on, labor. However, they will first consider the risks, benefits, and necessity of the intervention.

A doctor may recommend inducing labor in instances in which:

they have actually concerns around the health of the woman or babythe post-term day is approachingthere is an infection in the uterusthere is delay fetal growth

Certain medical conditions may pose a risk to the mrs or baby, including:

kidney diseaseblood problems due to rhesus (Rh) aspect issues

Rh aspect is a protein the is sometimes current on the surface of red blood cells. World with this protein in their blood have Rh-positive blood, while those who perform not have actually this protein have actually Rh-negative blood.

Problems deserve to arise if the fetus has Rh-positive blood, yet the woman’s blood is Rh-negative.

Typically, maternal blood does not mix through fetal blood throughout pregnancy. However, this can sometimes occur during a medical procedure, such together amniocentesis, or if the woman experiences trauma come the abdomen.

If it does happen, the woman will build antibodies against the Rh aspect of the fetus, and also her body will certainly fight against the unborn baby’s blood. This assault can be life-threatening because that the unborn child, and it can also result in complications with subsequent pregnancies.

If that is vital to induce labor, a healthcare expert will use details medications and also procedures to cause labor to start.

These procedures include:

Cervical ripening

It is feasible to ripen, or dilate, the cervix by inserting a catheter through a small balloon-type an equipment on the end or by introducing a substance the absorbs water.


A healthcare expert may burst the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby inside the uterus to begin labor or to development labor that has already begun. They deserve to only do this procedure if the cervix has actually dilated enough to do the amniotic sac accessible.


Doctors might use naturally emerging chemicals referred to as prostaglandins to shot to soften and also thin the end the cervix and also encourage cervical dilation. They deliver prostaglandins to the cervix v the vagina. In part cases, lock may carry out the hormone oxytocin come induce job by stimulating contractions.

Stripping the membranes

This an approach can help release prostaglandin to induce labor, follow to ACOG. A medical professional or midwife will usage a finger come “sweep” end the membranes connecting the amniotic sac to the uterine wall.

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According come one source, this may be uncomfortable for some women and is only possible following the dilation the the cervix.