Induction of labour: the development and application of a novel classification system

20 April 2016

OBJECTIVE To develop and demonstrate the applicability of a classification system for induction of labour (IOL) that fulfils recognised classification system attributes for clinical, surveillance and research purposes. DESIGN Proof of concept. SETTING, POPULATION Applicability demonstrated in a population cohort of 909,702 maternities in New South Wales, Australia, 2002-2011. METHODS A multidisciplinary collaboration developed a classification system through a systematic literature review, development of a clinically logical model, and presentation to stakeholders for feedback and refinement. Classification factors included parity (nulliparous, parous), previous caesarean section (CS), gestational age (≤36, 37-38, 39-40, ≥41 weeks gestation), number (singleton, multiple) and presentation of the fetus (cephalic, non-cephalic). We determined: the size of each classification group, the contribution each group made to overall IOL rates, and within-group IOL rates (calculated as proportions of all maternities, all maternities excluding prelabour CS and of all continuing maternities). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Applicability of IOL classification using routinely collected obstetric data. RESULTS A 10 group classification system was developed. Of all maternities, 25.4% were induced. Nulliparous and parous women without a prior CS at 39-40 weeks gestation with a singleton cephalic-presenting fetus were the largest groups (21.2% and 24.5% respectively) and accounted for the highest proportion of all IOL (20.7% and 21.5% respectively). The highest within group IOL rates were for nullipara (53.8%) and multipara (45.5%) ≥41 weeks gestation. CONCLUSION We propose a classification system for IOL that has the attributes of simplicity and clarity, utilises information that is readily and reliably collected and reported, and enables standard characterisation of populations of women having an IOL.