Inductions performed for non-recognised medical reasons have been found to raise the risk of complications for both mother and baby.

Inductions performed for non-recognised medical reasons have been found to cause more complications for both mother and baby.

Pregnant women who are induced for “non-recognised” medical reasons have a higher chance of birth complications than other mums, a study has found.

A team from the University of Adelaide studied 28,000 births over a year, comparing spontaneous labours with inductions of women who were induced for medical reasons, and those who were induced for non-recognised medical reasons, such as living a long way from a hospital or wanting a birth to occur on a particular day or time.

In the absence of serious maternal or fetal problems or a medical recommendation, induction is best avoided 

The study found that inductions performed for non-recognised medical reasons ­led to a 67 per cent higher chance of having a caesarean section.

Babies who were induced for non-recognised medical reasons had a 64 percent higher risk of being admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and a 44 percent higher chance of needing medical treatment.

Rosalie Grivell, from the university’s Robinson Institute, said spontaneous labour had the best outcomes for mother and baby.

“In the absence of serious maternal or foetal problems or a medical recommendation, induction is best avoided,” she said.

Women had the lowest risk of having an epidural if they went into labour at or after 41 weeks’ gestation. Other results showed that mums were at the lowest risk of suffering a severe perineal tear if they laboured after 38 weeks’ gestation.  

“We hope our findings will increase awareness of potential complications related to the common use of induction of labour in situations where there is no serious maternal or fetal problem,” Grivell said.