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Continuous fetal monitoring in the ambulant patient.

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What is labor induction? Labor induction is the use of medications or other methods to bring on (induce) labor. Why is labor induced? Labor is induced to stimulate contractions of the uterus in an effort to have a vaginal birth. Labor induction may be recommended if the health of the mother or fetus is at risk. In special situations, labor is induced for nonmedical reasons, such as living far away from the hospital. This is called elective induction. Elective induction should not occur before 39 weeks of pregnancy. What is the Bishop score? To prepare for labor and delivery, the cervix begins to soften (ripen), thin out, and open. These changes usually start a few weeks before labor begins. Health care providers use the Bishop score to rate the readiness of the cervix for labor. With this scoring system, a number ranging from 0–13 is given to rate the condition of the cervix. A Bishop score of less than 6 means that your cervix may not be ready for labor. What is “ripening the cervix”? Ripening the cervix is a process that helps the cervix soften and thin out in preparation for labor. Medications or devices may be used to soften the cervix so it will stretch (dilate) for labor. How is cervical ripening performed? Ripening of the cervix can be done with prostaglandins or with special devices. What are prostaglandins? Prostaglandins are drugs that can be used to ripen the cervix. They are forms of chemicals produced naturally by the body. These drugs can be inserted into the vagina or taken by mouth. Some of these drugs are not used in women who have had a previous cesarean delivery or other uterine surgery to avoid increasing the possible risk of uterine rupture (tearing). FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FAQ154 LABOR, DELIVERY, AND POSTPARTUM CARE The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists fAQ • What is labor induction? • Why is labor induced? • What is the Bishop score? • What is “ripening the cervix”? • How is cervical ripening performed? •

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