The Aberdeen University team found that in more than a quarter of cases a medical or other explanation for the procedure and more studies were needed to assess whether inductions are being done without good reason.
Medical reasons for induction include being over 41 weeks pregnant, waters breaking but no onset of labour, or planned timing of labour because of complications.
The procedure is associated with an increased likelihood of further medical interventions, such as caesarean section.
Rates of induction are rising in the UK – particularly in Scotland – but there does not seem to be a single explanation for the figures, the researchers said.
Using data in the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal databank on births between 1999 and 2003, they identified that 5,700 or 32% of pregnant women had been induced.
Reasons for induction included the standard medical reasons as well as social factors such as living a long way from the hospital.
But 28% of cases remained unexplained.
This study caught my eye because I was induced just over a week ago. At 40 weeks and 2 days, I visited my OB where she made the decision to induce the next day based on hospital availability.
Just like in this study, there wasn’t a medical reason for the induction. I just wanted him to arrive because I was worried something may happen to him if he stayed in too long. I really read too many bad stories…