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Labor Induction May Boost C-Section Risk
Date:6/22/2010

One in five cesareans due to 'failed inductions,' researchers find

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Inducing labor more than doubles the risk of having a cesarean delivery, according to a new study that puts some hard-and-fast numbers to a link that experts have long suspected.

"Induction of labor doubles the risk of C-section," said study author Dr. Deborah Ehrenthal, director of women's health programs at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., and an assistant professor of family medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. The research appears in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Many decisions to induce labor are medically necessary, including situations in which it's deemed safer to deliver the baby than to continue the pregnancy. But many inductions are "elective," requested typically by a woman or her doctor, Ehrenthal also found in her study. "There are concerns that deliveries are being scheduled [and labor-induced] for non-medical reasons."

Among them, she said, are women electing to have labor induced when their partner is available, such as being back in town from a business trip.

"We need to understand it's not without risk to be doing this," Ehrenthal said of some elective inductions and the higher risk of C-sections. "There are significant risk to moms for C-sections."

In her study, Ehrenthal focused on 7,804 women giving birth for the first time who delivered single infants at term, between 37 and 42 weeks.

She found that labor was induced in 43.6 percent of the women, and 39.9 percent of those were elective inductions.

Then Ehrenthal looked at the women who had C-sections and found that use of labor induction (whether elective or not) increased the odds of having a C-section by more than 2.6 times.

Put another way, "20 percent of the cesareans were attributed to the induction,
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