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How can midwives better prepare women for induced labour?

Research midwife Sam Nightingale has been awarded £17,687 to help improve women’s experience of induced labour

Co-funded by


For a number of reasons, healthcare professionals are offering induction of labour to a greater number of women and, at the moment, 30-40% of labours are induced.

Induction can, however, affect a woman’s birth preferences, which can have a negative impact on her mental health if she didn’t feel prepared.

This is why Wellbeing of Women Research Midwife, Sam Nightingale, is developing a video to help women prepare for induction of labour.

“Research has found induction of labour was not what women expected, and this has had a significant effect on overall birth experience,” Nightingale explains. “There is also evidence that some women develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic birth experience.”

Listening to women

Using surveys filled out by women before induction of labour and a phone interview completed afterwards, Nightingale will find out what women would benefit from knowing before the process.

Using this insight, she and a professional film maker will develop a film to meet those needs.

“Research looking at women’s understanding of traumatic birth experiences recommended that healthcare professionals recognize women’s need to be involved in decision‐making, and to be fully informed about all aspects of their labour and birth to increase their sense of control,” Nightingale says.

“These studies highlight that if women have more information to prepare them for their birth journeys, it has a positive effect on their mental health and reduces the likelihood of birth trauma.”

As well as the mother herself, it’s believed that PTSD can affect child development, the bonding between a mother and her baby, and relationships – affecting whole families.

So, by improving women’s understanding of induced labour and addressing their needs, this study aims to improve the experience for women and their families as well as their mental health afterwards.

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