New Study Finds Induced Labor May Lower C-Section Risk
For most moms, induced labor does not increase cesarean delivery risk.
In news straight out of the “forget everything you think you know is true” files, a recent study from researchers in Canada has found that moms who have their labors induced on or near their due dates have a 12 percent lower risk for Cesarean delivery than women who go into labor naturally.
The study, published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), analyzed over 30,000 deliveries to better understand the relationship between induction and C-section rates. It’s a long held belief that inducing labor raises risk for delivering via C-section, mainly because the speed at which labor can progress is thought to increase chances for encountering birth complications.
Researchers found, overall, just the opposite, in both high-risk pregnancies and low-risk pregnancies induced at term or post-term.
“The risk of Cesarean delivery following induced labor was significantly lower… this finding… is contrary to prevalent beliefs and information from consumer organizations, guidelines and textbooks,” explains lead author Khalid Khan, Professor of Women’s Health and Clinical Epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, about the surprise find.
It should be noted that inducing labor for preterm babies born before 36 weeks was still linked to higher Cesarean rates. Researchers found that the medications used to kickstart labor also mattered. Prostaglandin E2, commonly used in the UK, Canada and the United States to induce labour, was associated with significant reductions in the risk of cesarean delivery. Likewise, oxytocin and amniotomy, also widely used, did not show a decreased risk of Cesarean delivery.
Labor is induced in about 20 percent of all births, usually for reasons related to pre-eclampsia, diabetes, preterm rupture of the membranes, overdue pregnancy and fetal distress.
The bottom line? As Professor Khan sums it up: “These findings show that inducing labor is a way to increase the likelihood of a vaginal birth.
Finally, some good news for moms who probably could stand to hear some.
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