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Trends and Controversies in Labor Induction

Moleti, Carole Ann MS, MPH, CNM, FNP-BC

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: January-February 2009 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 40–47
doi: 10.1097/01.NMC.0000343864.49366.66
Original Article

In 2005, the rate of induction of labor for all births in the United States calculated from birth certificate data approached 22.3%. In 2006, the Listening To Mothers II Study suggested that induction of labor might be as high as 50% if attempts at self-induction are considered. All induction methods hold some measure of risk for minor and more serious and sometimes even life-threatening complications for the mother and fetus. This article contains a review of the physiology of labor, accepted pharmacologic and mechanical methods of induction, and data about alternative methods women use for induction, including acupuncture and herbal preparations. Risks and complications for women undergoing labor induction are described, and the role of the nurse in patient education and counseling is discussed.

Labor inductions have increased exponentially in the past decade. What are the controversies surrounding this phenomenon?

Carole Ann Moleti is a Nurse-Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY. She can be reached via e-mail at

The author of this article has disclosed no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.