Labor Induction: Resource Overview

Labor can be induced via medications or other methods that stimulate uterine contractions so that a woman may attempt a vaginal birth. The ob-gyn may recommend induction if the pregnancy is postterm or if the health of the mother or fetus is at risk. Labor might also be induced for elective (nonmedical) reasons, such as living far away from the hospital. Ob-gyns, physicians whose primary responsibility is women’s health, play a leading role in helping women decide if and when to induce labor.

Here are the key publications and resources for ob-gyns, other women’s health care providers, and patients from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other sources.

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Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers
Resources for Women and Patients
External Organizations

Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers

Practice Bulletin: Management of Late-Term and Postterm Pregnancy (members only)

“Management of Late-Term and Postterm Pregnancy,” issued by ACOG in August 2014 (reaffirmed 2016), reviews the current understanding of late-term and postterm pregnancies and provides evidence-based guidelines for management. It concludes that labor induction may be considered when a woman is in week 41, and is recommended if she is in week 42.   

Committee Opinion: Labor Induction or Augmentation and Autism

“Labor Induction or Augmentation and Autism,” issued by ACOG in May 2014 (reaffirmed 2016), reviews research evaluating the association between oxytocin, commonly administered for labor induction and augmentation, and autism spectrum disorder in children. It concludes that current evidence does not demonstrate causation. It notes important limitations in study design and conflicting findings in existing research.

Practice Bulletin: Induction of Labor (members only)

“Induction of Labor,” issued by ACOG in August 2009 (reaffirmed 2016), discusses when and how to induce labor in pregnant women. It guides physicians on which induction methods may be most appropriate under particular circumstances, as well as the safety requirements, risks, and benefits of the different methods.

Patient Safety Checklist: Scheduling Induction of Labor

“Scheduling Induction of Labor,” issued by ACOG in December 2011, is a patient safety checklist to be completed by a woman’s health care provider and submitted to the respective hospital when scheduling an induction of labor.

 “How I Practice” Video Series: Non-Medically Indicated Induction Before 39 Weeks (members only)

“Non-Medically Indicated Induction Before 39 Weeks,” issued by ACOG in August 2009, is a video featuring Laurie Gregg, MD, FACOG. She walks the viewer through a hypothetical visit from a patient who is requesting a non-medically indicated elective induction. She describes ways that she would educate the woman about the risks of such a procedure while showing compassion for her concerns, including discomfort.

Practice Bulletin: Obstetric Analgesia and Anesthesia

"Obstetric Analgesia and Anesthesia," issued by ACOG in March 2019, discusses methods of analgesia and anesthesia for labor pain.

Resources for Women and Patients

Patient FAQ: Labor Induction

“Labor Induction,” issued by ACOG in January 2012, is a list of questions and answers for patients describing issues surrounding labor induction, such as why labor might be induced, the Bishop score, how cervical ripening is performed, the use of oxytocin, and risks of induction. A brief glossary is also included.


External Organizations

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine is an organization that offers physicians and scientists a place to share knowledge, research, and clinical best practices with the goal of improving care for mothers and their babies. Its website includes links to articles, guidelines, and scientific studies covering various issues related to induction of labor.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality women’s health care, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998