Induction of labour: how do women get information and make decisions? Findings of a qualitative study
Background Induction of labour is one of the most frequent interventions in pregnancy. While it is not always unwelcome, it is associated with increased labour pain and further interventions. Evidence from earlier studies suggests that induction is often commenced without full discussion and information, which questions the validity of womens consent. This study aimed to add depth and context to existing knowledge by exploring how first-time mothers acquire information about induction and give consent to the procedure. Method A qualitative study into womens experiences of induction was undertaken, comprising 21 women, who were interviewed 3-6 weeks after giving birth following induction. Findings Information from midwives and antenatal classes was minimal, with family and friends cited as key informants. Midwives presented induction as the preferred option, and alternative care plans, or the relative risks of induction versus continued pregnancy, were rarely discussed. Women reported that midwives often appeared rushed, with little time for discussion. Conclusions Providers of maternity care need to devise more flexible ways of working to create time and opportunities for midwives to discuss induction in detail with women and to promote fully informed decision-making.