‘Wait for Labor’ campaign discourages induction

To increase awareness about the health risks of elective inductions of labor and the importance of full-term pregnancies, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) has launched the “Wait for Labor to Start on Its Own” online pledge. The campaign encourages pregnant women who are healthy and well to wait for labor to start on its own rather than seeking an elective induction.

Elective induction of labor can lead to cesarean surgical birth, hemorrhage, and infection, AWHONN reports. Babies born even in those last few weeks of pregnancy are at greater risk for breathing problems, feeding issues, jaundice, low blood sugar, and problems maintaining their own body temperature.

“It’s best to let baby pick her birthday,” says said AWHONN’s CEO Karen Peddicord, PhD, RN. “A baby may be due by the traditional definition of term at 40 weeks after the first day of a woman’s last period. However, women aren’t always certain when they got pregnant, and research shows estimates can be off by a week or more.”

Pregnant women, their healthcare providers, families, and friends are encouraged to sign and share the pledge. Mothers who sign the pledge promise to talk with their healthcare provider about their desire to wait for spontaneous labor and learn the reasons why it is important for women to go the full 40 weeks of pregnancy if mother and baby are healthy and well. Participants also commit to sharing the pledge with others to build a strong community of supporters who can encourage women to wait for labor to start on its own and avoid non-medically indicated labor inductions or cesareans.

“The ‘Wait for Labor to Start on its Own’ pledge encourages the best and healthiest outcomes for pregnant women and their babies,” Peddicord says. “Labor should only be induced for medical reasons, not for convenience or scheduling concerns. It is critical that women’s health nurses work with their patients to help them understand the risks of elective induction of labor and motivate them to carry their babies to term.”

The pledge and additional information can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/waitforlabor. AWHONN launched the pledge in conjunction with its Go the Full 40 campaign, which can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/full40. The campaign helps expectant mothers and women everywhere understand why babies need at least a full 40 weeks of pregnancy to grow and develop.


  • Karen Peddicord, PhD, RN, CEO, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Washington, DC. Telephone: (201) 261-2400.