The culmination of normal pregnancy involves three stages: prelabour, cervical ripening and labour. These occur as a continuum rather than as isolated events . Endogenous prostaglandins play a part in all these processes . Interventions to artificially ripen the cervix, induce uterine contractions and augment labour once it is in progress also lack distinct boundaries. This chapter will briefly discuss reasons for these interventions and methods which may be used.
Labour induction and augmentation may be a source of conflict and distress. For most health workers they are seen as routine, technical procedures. For many women, they have emotive connotations, evoking a sense of personal inadequacy and eroded self-esteem. It is important for health workers to approach the question of labour induction with sensitivity, and to involve women in the decision-making process.
Labour induction is one of the most frequent medical procedures in pregnant women. It is a major intervention in the normal course of pregnancy, with the potential to set in motion a cascade of interventions, particularly Caesarean section. However, with modern methods of labour induction, this risk appears to have diminished.
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The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.