5 Medical Reasons to Have an Induction

newborn baby

While many patients choose inductions for non-medical reasons (family is in town, work conflicts, they are tired of being pregnant), there are several medical reasons that your care provider may suggest an induction for you.

Inductions, especially in first-time mothers, can lead to a longer labor, more complications, and an increased risk for a c-section, so it is important to carefully evaluate your need for an induction.

If you have one or more of the following medical conditions during your pregnancy, an induction may be right for you:

  1. High blood pressure, also known as preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). For reasons no one quite understands, some women develop high blood pressure during their pregnancy. If your blood pressure becomes uncontrolled and you develop other symptoms like swelling in your feet and ankles, or protein in your urine (You know that pee sample you leave every time? That’s what they are looking for!), it may be time to induce. Delivering the baby is the only cure for pregnancy-induced hypertension, so usually a care provider will choose an induction when the baby is full-term. 
  2. Gestational diabetes. Like pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes only shows up while a woman is pregnant. There are risk factors, such as obesity and age, but any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes. The high levels of sugar in the body produced by gestational diabetes can lead to complications for both you and the baby that can only increase as the baby grows.
  3. Clotting disorders. Some women have certain types of blood clotting disorders (such as Factor V) that place them at increased risk for complications during pregnancy. Often times, women will not even know they have a blood clotting disorder until they are pregnant, or it may disappear altogether when they are not pregnant. (What’s up with the weird diseases popping up in pregnancy? Like there isn’t enough going on with the whole growing-a-human thing?)
  4. Placental insufficiency. If your placenta shows any signs of deterioration, the benefits of an induction with far outweigh the risks. Your placenta is the #1 single source of oxygen and nourishment to you baby, so if there’s a major problem with the placenta, doing its job, it’s time to get the baby out.
  5. Low amniotic fluid. If your care provider suspects that your amniotic fluid is running a bit low, he or she will most likely do some additional testing to determine if an induction is necessary. Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus and it is essential for the safety of the baby. If the amniotic fluid is low, due to different reasons like your water breaking or a condition with the baby, an induction is usually warranted.

If you have one or more of these conditions, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider early in your pregnancy and gain all the knowledge you can to help you have a healthy, successful induction. 

Have you had a condition that required an induction? Did you choose an induction for personal reasons? 

Image via Flickr: dchasteen

What do you think?

5 Medical Reasons to Have an Induction

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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16 comments

  1. Reo says:

    My water broke at home at around 2:30 in the morning 12/24 but I’d had no contractions. When we got to the hospital an hour later there still weren’t any contractions, and around noon they finally decided to induce me since it was going to be a dry birth. She finally came at 10:05 that night making for a grand total of 19 and 1/2 hours we’d been waiting, but she came out perfect and with an excellent set of lungs.

  2. joyce says:

    I had preeclampsia my last pregnancy but I went in to labor on my own. I will state contractions are way more painful with an induction rather than your body doing all the work.

  3. Lindsay says:

    My son was due on March 26th, 2013. I had no signs of labor, only HORRIBLE Braxton Hicks contractions, which scared me into thinking it was real labor. I went in to the baby doctor once a week starting at 36 weeks to be checked for signs of labor and effacement. Over the course of the next month, I had effaced up to 80%,but had not dilated at all. When I got to my due date, there was still no sign of labor coming on, so they set an appointment for me to be induced the following week. I was scheduled to be induced Tuesday April 2nd and would stay over night and labor would begin the following day. I ended up being in induced labor for 17 hours, and they had to do an emergency c-section and he was born Thursday April 4th

  4. Angela says:

    I had to be induced at 39 weeks with my first due to preeclampsia. Hopefully, it won’t be necessary with the second.

  5. Ashley says:

    first time was first pregnancy with twins after one water broke … second time was personal non-medical choice … I chose the second because I was tired of being pregnant felt like I was over due … It was second pregnancy and the first was twins born at 37weeks … I made it until 39 weeks before choosing induction … now pregnant with third and going to try to make it longer

  6. monette3 says:

    Good information. I feel much more informed about inductions after reading this article. I would never want to be induced for mere convenience, but health reasons or extreme discomfort are a different story.

  7. Natasha says:

    I have been induced with 3 and soon to be 4 of my children. I have had 4 and will be having number 5. I was induced with my daughter because I was miserable, and couldn’t stand it any more. I was induced with my son because he was still born at 39 weeks. Which is why my other son was induced at 38 weeks, and my next one will be induced at 38 weeks.

  8. I have gestational hypertension but my blood pressure is beginning tolevel itself out. I’m 37.4 weeks pregnant with my first and was supposed to be induced on the 4th but they are going to be monitoring from week to week and possibly induce me at 39 weeks.

  9. betajuliet says:

    I had to be induced at 40 weeks, because my body wasn’t going into labor on it’s own. And after delivery my midwife told me it’s a good thing I decided to do so, because my placenta was dying.

  10. Olivia says:

    I had my daughter at 39/40 weeks. My doctor induced me cause I couldn’t feel my daughter move any more. I had problems with my pregnancy from day one. So of course my first child I was scared so I did panic allot so I’m not sure if she induced me cause I couldn’t feel her move any more our if she wad just tired of me panicking

  11. Jen says:

    I had PIH from about 36weeks going forward. On 39w6d, little man broke my water, but just a leak. The doctor decided to induce me, and after 5 hours of no progress, they discovered he was breech. I ended up with a C-Section. My birth plan included no drugs whatsoever (for as long as I could take it at least), and I was disappointed to have undergone such extensive procedures. However, in the end, he was/is all worth it!

  12. Regina says:

    I have Factor five leiden disorder so i was induced at 39 weeks with my oldest and 38 with my youngest

  13. Kbenard says:

    I also had to be induced then wound up with a c section because my baby was so large at 39 weeks. I wound up with an 11 pound 3 ounce baby and the doctors missed it because they stopped doing ultra sounds at 24 weeks and when I wound up with severe ciatica they put me in the hospital and induced me when the baby began to cap at 5 cm after 18 hours they decided to do a c section when he was born they were amazed that I went 39 weeks and had an 11 pound 3 ounce 22 inch long baby boy. They told me if I have any more I will need to be monitered closely and definitly scedual an early c section.

  14. abbigail says:

    My water broke with my first child right at 36 weeks, but my contractions wouldn’t start so they gave me pitocin to jump start them. I had an epidural then so I didn’t feel much.

    My second child had to be induced at 40 weeks. He was fully engaged, my cervix was completely thinned out and I was 7cm dilated for the longest time. I swear it felt like he would just fall out at any moment.
    I went in and my doctor broke my water, but after 3 hours my contractions hadn’t started so I was given pitocin again. They couldn’t stick the epidural this time so I was left with no pain medicine and a really sore back!
    I wasn’t in labor for too long though and I only pushed for an hour.

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  16. brittney says:

    How scary! I knew this was a possibility but yikes! I been have diagnosed with gestational diabetes and i figured this could be the case! If i have to be induced i just hope that little boy is big enough and gets to come home with me!!

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