Ade-Ojo IP and Akintayo AA
Reduction of maternal and infant mortalities is two key targets critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Approximately four million fetus es annually are stillborn after the age of viabilit y. Similarly, more than five hundred women die each ye ar as a result of childbirth. Majority of these dea ths occur in the developing and poor resource settings like ours. The prevention of these maternal and neonatal deaths sometimes requires the prompt and e arly delivery after the age of viability but before the onset of labour. The two interventions at the d isposal of the obstetricians when faced with this dilemma is either caesarean delivery or induction o f labour. Induction of labour is a common feature o f labour ward practice in both developed and developi ng countries. It is indicated in maternal and fetal conditions in which prolongation of the pregnancy w ould jeopardize fetal or maternal well-being and in which there are no contraindications to vaginal del ivery and caesarean section could still be postponed. Oxytocin and prostaglandins are widely u sed for induction of labour in the developed countries; oxytocin and lately, prostaglandin analo gue (misoprostol) is the mainstay of medical induction of labour in the developing countries. Th is article delves in details into induction of labo ur with emphasis on the practice in the developing cou ntries with the objective of improving the standard of practice.
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