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Factors Predicting Labor Induction Success: A Critical Analysis


Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology: September 2006 - Volume 49 - Issue 3 - pp 573-584
Symposium on Cervical Ripening and Labor Induction

Because of the risk of failed induction of labor, a variety of maternal and fetal factors as well as screening tests have been suggested to predict labor induction success. Certain characteristics of the woman (including parity, age, weight, height and body mass index), and of the fetus (including birth weight and gestational age) are associated with the success of labor induction; with parous, young women who are taller and lower weight having a higher rate of induction success. Fetuses with a lower birth weight or increased gestational age are also associated with increased induction success. The condition of the cervix at the start of induction is an important predictor, with the modified Bishop score being a widely used scoring system. The most important element of the Bishop score is dilatation.

Other predictors, including transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and biochemical markers [including fetal fibronectin (fFN)] have been suggested. Meta-analyses of studies identified from MEDLINE, PubMed, and EMBASE and published from 1990 to October 2005 were performed evaluating the use of TVUS and fFN in predicting labor induction success in women at term with singleton gestations. Both TVUS and Bishop score predicted successful induction [likelihood ratio (LR)=1.82, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.51–2.20 and LR=2.10, 95%CI=1.67–2.64, respectively]. As well, fFN and Bishop score predicted successful induction (LR=1.49, 95%CI=1.20–1.85, and LR=2.62, 95%CI=1.88-3.64, respectively). Although TVUS and fFN predicted successful labor induction, neither has been shown to be superior to Bishop score. Further research is needed to evaluate these potential predictors and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1), another potential biochemical marker.

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Eastern Health of St John's, St. John's, NL, Canada

Correspondence: Joan M.G. Crane, MSc, MD, FRCSC, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Eastern Health, 300 Prince Phillip Drive, St John's, NL, Canada A1B 3V6. E-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.