Information for the public

Why you might be offered induction

Why you might be offered induction

Most women have a normal pregnancy and a normal birth, but sometimes it can be best to induce labour:

  • 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.

The most common reason for induction is to avoid a prolonged pregnancy. Your midwife or obstetrician should offer to discuss this with you at your 38 week antenatal appointment. If you are offered induction for this reason, when and where the induction takes place will depend on your preferences and what facilities are available in your area.

You may be offered induction if you are more than 34 weeks pregnant and your waters break, but labour has not started on its own after 24 hours.

If your baby is larger than expected, you should not normally be offered induction for this reason alone. Induction should not be offered to avoid you giving birth without your midwife or obstetrician with you if you have given birth before and the labour was very quick.