Induction of labour (IOL), in which labour is started artificially, has quickly become a part of routine pregnancy and birth care in the UK.
On average, 1 in 5 women are induced every year, and this is likely to increase if IOL is recommended before 40 weeks gestation.
Despite arguments that the procedure is beneficial and reduces stillbirth rates, the evidence base around IOL is still underdeveloped, and research suggests that women’s experiences of induction are mixed.
This has given rise to debates on the efficacy of inducing earlier and earlier into pregnancy, and often centre on evidence, policy and guidance, all of which are contested and in flux.
Given the rising clinical, academic and public attention on IOL, we undertook a critical feminist discourse analysis, aimed at answering the following: what are the key IOL discourses evident in the literature concerning IOL policy and guidance, and in descriptions of women's experiences of IOL in the literature?
What does this discourse say about the social practices of pregnancy and birth in the UK?
This talk will outline our preliminary findings, highlighting the nature of knowledge production in medicine, women’s agency, and medico-legal, ethical and moral dimensions of care giving in maternity services.