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Induction of labour: information and consent still inadequate

In France, a survey revealed that women are given insufficient information prior to induction of labour, and their consent is often not sought.

In France in 1980, labour was induced in 10% of deliveries. Between 1995 and 2003 this percentage rose to 20%, to reach almost 23% in 2010.

The French group Ciane (Collectif interassociatif autour de la naissance, a coalition of associations dedicated to childbirth issues) emphasises the importance of improving women's experience by providing information and requesting consent when induction of labour is being considered.

Ciane collected responses to a questionnaire from 18 700 women who gave birth between 2008 and 2014. Ciane notes an improvement between the periods 2008-2011 and 2012-2014 with regard to informing women about induction of labour and requesting their consent.

However, in the period 2012-2014, of the women who responded to the questionnaire, 3 out of 10 primipara (first-time) mothers reported that they were given no information on induction of labour. Many received incomplete information, and too late, which left them with no option but to consent at the very moment of induction.

The women who responded to the survey asked to be better informed about the medical reason for induction of labour (except in an obvious emergency), the technical procedure and the consequences during and after the intervention: pain, risk of haemorrhaging, risk of episiotomy and Caesarean section.

According to the French National Authority for Health (HAS), healthcare professionals must be able to give reliable, accurate, oral and written information on induction of labour.

For this act as for any other, giving information is part of providing quality care. Ciane urges caregivers to make further improvements.

©Prescrire 1 December 2017

"Induction of labour: still inadequate provision of information, and women's consent not always obtained" Prescrire Int 2017; 26 (188): 306-307. (Pdf, subscribers only).

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