C-Section Risk Found High for First-Time Moms Induced at Term

20 percent of cesarean sections at term in first pregnancy may be attributable to induced labor

WEDNESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Nulliparous women who undergo induced labor at term have double the risk of requiring cesarean delivery, according to a study in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Deborah B. Ehrenthal, M.D., of the Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of cesarean delivery among 7,804 nulliparous women at term. The percentage of cesarean deliveries which were attributed to induction of labor was the measured end point.

Labor was induced in 43.6 percent of the cesarean deliveries, and 39.9 percent of these inductions were elective. The researchers found that the risk of having a cesarean delivery was significantly increased in women with induced labor, with the odds of induction remaining nearly doubled even after adjustment for other risk factors, including maternal demographic characteristics, pregnancy complications, and medical risk (adjusted odds ratio, 1.93). In this cohort, labor induction contributed to approximately 20 percent of the cesarean deliveries.

"Let us not be beguiled by our success but examine our practices and policies, remind ourselves that ill-timed inductions and cesarean deliveries can and do have measurable adverse consequences, and make needed changes that will improve outcomes for women and newborns. This is no time for complacency," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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Lindsey Marcellin

Lindsey Marcellin

Updated on June 23, 2010

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