Sydney, Dec 10 : Inducing labour in uncomplicated pregnancies can be risky, according to a study.
A quantitative study based on 50,000 first births between 2000 and 2005 showed that induced labours were more likely than spontaneous births to lead to forceps delivery, caesarean section and haemorrhage.
Babies were also more likely to be admitted to nursery care and to require active resuscitation after induced labour.
Mary-Ann Davey of Mother and Child Health Research at La Trobe University, who conducted the study, stressed that the sample included only those women whose pregnancies were progressing in a healthy and normal manner.
"I used data that are routinely collected on all births in Victoria by the midwife attending the birth," Davey said. "I selected those first births that appeared to have no clinical indication for induction of labour.
These were all single pregnancies of normal presentation born between 37 and 40 weeks.
Mothers had no complications, such as pre-existing diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease or mental illness and those younger than 20 years or older than 45 were excluded from the analysis.
Davey believes that many of the labours were induced for reasons of convenience rather than for any medical indications. Sometimes the pregnancies might be induced because they are past the due date but only by six days or less.
The risk of haemorrhage following induced labour was increased by 17 percent, of an instrumental delivery by 20-70 percent, of nursery care for the infant by 24 percent and active resuscitation by 15-100 percent, depending on the method of induction, said a La Trobe release.
The risk of a caesarean was between two and four times more likely after induction.