Rates of induction have more than doubled in the past two decades. However, risk factors related to induction are also increasing to both mom and baby.
The Bishop score is the most commonly used method to assess the readiness of the cervix for induction. However, it was created without modern statistical methods.
The Bishop score, created in 1964, assesses the dilation, effacement, consistency and position of the cervix as well as the station of the baby. Each item is then given a score of zero to three and totaled up. If the score is an eight or higher, the cervix is favorable and induction is more likely to succeed. When the score is less than eight, there is a higher risk for complications and are more likely to have interventions to augment birth.
Here is a reference page that can be used to determine a Bishop score .
If a cervix is favorable, induction is likely to result in vaginal delivery, and any method of induction tends to work well. This includes any at home, natural methods that may be tried. If a cervix is considered to be unfavorable, no method is highly effective for induction. The cervix must “ripen” more so that it becomes favorable.
The risks of being induced vary depending on the method of induction, but the biggest risk is that induction will fail. In 25% of cases, induction is not successful. This may mean birth lasts longer than it would have without having an induction. This may ultimately lead to a c-section which can be physically taxing and emotionally draining for both mom and dad. It can also put the baby in distress.
If induction ends up being the right choice for your family you can still have a vaginal birth. Take a childbirth class to understand all the risks and benefits of various procedures. Then gather a supportive birth team-dads and doulas work great together. Believe in yourself. Believe in the process.