Induction decisions

Unless there’s a medical reason, it’s best to wait for labor to start on its own


Are you considering induction? Inducing labor is common—but experts agree that unless it’s for a medical reason, induction is risky and best avoided.
In recent years there has been a movement to wait to induce labor without medical reasons until at least the 39th week—which is 1 week before your due date. But most women won’t go into labor on their own until their due date or a week or so after, and there are many advantages for both women and babies of waiting until your body signals everything is ready by naturally starting labor.


Induction increases your risk for cesarean, especially if your body isn’t ready to labor. Your healthcare provider may recommend inducing labor if you or your baby are experiencing medical problems, such as preeclampsia or poor fetal growth, in which case it’s riskier for pregnancy to continue than for baby to be born early. If your provider is recommending an induction, ask why. Some reasons, such as the baby is “too big,” may not indicate an urgent need for baby to be born.