This guideline covers circumstances, methods and monitoring for inducing labour in pregnant women to avoid a pregnancy lasting longer than 42 weeks (known as a prolonged pregnancy) or if a woman’s waters break but labour does not start. It aims to improve the advice and care provided to women considering and undergoing induction of labour in hospital-based maternity units, midwifery led units and at home.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners and providers
  • Pregnant women, their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in January 2017 and we are updating the recommendations on:

  • induction of labour in specific circumstances – suspected fetal macrosomia
  • recommended methods for induction of labour
  • methods that are not recommended for induction of labour

See the guideline in development page for progress on the update.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline updates and replaces induction of labour (NICE inherited clinical guideline D).

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)