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Birth. 2004 Jun;31(2):148-51.

Trends in labor induction in the United States: is it true that what goes up must come down?

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1
Department of Mother and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, RPHB 320, 1530 3rd Avenue S, Birmingham, AL 35294-0022, USA. rkirby@uab.edu

Abstract

Three recent studies examined the national trend in labor induction in the United States. All show a doubling in the rate of induction during the 1990s, although vital statistics data show a consistently higher trend than that obtained from national hospital discharge data. Neither data source adequately documents the full range of indications for induction, its timing, hospital staffing considerations, and other factors that may play a role. Although rates of induction of labor may be leveling off, despite a lack of scientific evidence for its widespread use, rates are likely to remain at current levels for the next few years.

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