Inducing labour may halve the risk of infection in the womb when waters break from 37 weeks. The procedure was started within 24 hours and was compared to waiting for labour to start on its own.
Waters breaking at full term without the onset of labour is called pre-labour rupture of membranes. This can increase risks of maternal and neonatal infection and the need for caesarean section. As most women deliver spontaneously within a day, NICE recommend that women are offered an informed choice of either induction 24 hours after premature rupture of membranes or to watch and wait.
This updated Cochrane review included new evidence and suggests that induction before 24 hours may reduce infections without increasing caesarean sections, but there remains some uncertainty. This is due to low study quality, lack of longer term outcomes, and too few participants in trials to compare the numbers of any rare serious events.
These findings may help inform shared decisions about induction by providing more information to help women understand the risks.
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