An induction is putting someone in to labor with an attempt to achieve a vaginal delivery before their body goes in to labor on its own. And, there are many ways to do an induction, but an induction is done in times where it is felt that getting the baby out is safer than keeping the baby in. Of course, this has to be weighed with whether it's safe for the mother to have an induction and whether her body is ready to go through this process. Why would a mother be considered for an induction? Well, if her blood pressure is extremely high, if she has preeclampsia for instance, if the baby's growth is restricted and the baby is no longer growing appropriately in the uterus, and other complications of pregnancy where delivering the baby may be more beneficial to the mother or to the baby than having the baby stay inside the uterus. Sometimes, though, when we know that the baby has to be delivered earlier than would be ideal and the mother's body is not ready, we actually recommend that the mother undergo a primary C section because an induction may take too long or the mother's body may not be ready for an induction. Are there risks to an induction? Well, there is slightly high risk of the C section when an induction takes place especially if the mother's cervix is not ready and there can be an increase risk of hyperstimulation where the contractions come on too strong and too fast necessitating other interventions. But, in general, if the mother's body is ready, inductions are very safe and are performed when needed. Besides the medical reasons for performing inductions, there are also psychosocial reasons for performing inductions. For instance, the mother may live far away from the hospital and maybe worried about delivering in the car, the mother may have a history of very rapid labor and needs to get to the hospital early and doesn't feel like she may make it there in time, or she may have child care issues. I've had situations where a pregnant woman's husband is able to come home from the military or from some other job related situation and can only be in town for 24 hours. And, in that case, it maybe prudent to have the baby deliver when the father can be present. In these cases, an induction would only be done after the baby's lungs are fully mature after 39 weeks and when the mother's cervix is ready and we feel that an induction would be successful and safe for both her and her baby.