Induction can cut newborn mortality rates

Inducing birth can cut the risk of newborn mortality significantly, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal.

Scientists analysed 1.2 million births in Scotland between 1981 and 2007, looking specifically at births that were induced for non-medical reasons.

They found that planned induction of labour was associated with a lower death rate both during and after birth.

Dr Sarah Stock, of the University of Edinburgh's Tommy's Centre for Reproductive Health, said: "Women have the choice of induction or waiting.

"There were concerns about inducing birth, but we didn't find an increased risk of complications or operational delivery."

However, the researchers noted that non-medical induction was unlikely to become standard practice in western hospitals. Currently, around 20 per cent of pregnancies in the west are induced.

Research conducted by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, in the UK, has shown that induced births can jeopardise maternal and newborn health by increasing the risk of uterine rupture.