Exploring pregnant women’s choice of elective induction of labour

16 Oct 2019

Elective induction of labour is contraindicated by the World Health Organization as there is no medical benefit. Women are often the primary instigators of elective induction of labour for convenience sake without knowing the potential risks. By exploring pregnant woman’s involvement in the decision-making leading to elective induction of labour, it could be established why the women were induced, where they obtained the relevant information, and if they were fully informed and given the opportunity to ask questions. Using a qualitative research approach, this study purposively selected postnatal women who elected to induce labour. These women were interviewed in a one-on-one dialogue in a private hospital in Gauteng, South Africa, until data saturation was reached. Ten interviews were conducted. The participants chose to induce labour based on inadequate or misleading information. Labour was induced ahead of time owing to a large baby size, the perception of a high risk pregnancy, the perception that induced labours are quicker and that pre-term births are acceptable. The participants were not actively involved in the decision-making but chose to induce labour owing to scheduling conflicts, made the decision solely based on their doctor’s recommendations, and did not ask questions despite being given the opportunity to do so. Women require sound knowledge of elective labour induction before they can take part in the decision-making process. Antenatal education strategies should provide women with the knowledge of the risks and benefits of elective induction of labour to make an informed decision. Without proper medical reasons, elective induction of labour may lead to more emergency caesarean sections, which are opposite to mothers’ original birth plans.