Chances are pretty good that most of us know a mom who was induced to get her labor started. That’s because every year, almost one quarter of all pregnant women in the United States have their labors artificially induced, which means they are given drugs to help the uterus to contract and/or for the cervix to ripen. Drugs that are typically used to induce labor are:
• Pitocin, a synthetic form of the natural hormone oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract
• Cervidil, a synthetic form of the natural hormone prostaglandin that ripens the cervix
• Cytotec, an ulcer medication used “off-label” to induce labor; NOT approved by the FDA as a labor-inducing medication
Every drug has its benefits, but each also carries risks. The same is true for the medications used to induce labor. There are valid medical reasons to induce a labor, but there are also risks to inducing labor.