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The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Induction of Labour

Induction of labour occurs when doctors and midwives encourage the labour process to start artificially. Approximately one fifth of women have an induction of labour.

The most common reasons for inducing labour are:

  • the woman has specific health concerns i.e. high blood pressure or diabetes
  • the pregnancy has gone longer than 41 weeks
  • the baby is showing some signs of problems
  • the waters have already broken but labour has not started naturally.

Methods of inducing labour include:

  • cervical ripening 'balloon catheter'
  • Prostaglandin gel
  • artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) ('breaking your waters')
  • Oxytocin IV drip

Induction of labour resources

More detailed information on induction of labour is available in the following downloadable brochures/booklets, in a range of languages.

Pre-induction cervical ripening using a 'balloon catheter'

One method of inducing labour is to insert a soft balloon catheter just inside the opening of the neck of the womb, to help dilate the cervix. The balloon catheter is inflated to apply pressure gradually over a period of hours.

Some women will be able to go home overnight with the catheter in place, and return in the morning for the next stage of care.

More detail on this process can be found in the following resources.