Induction of labour is common, with a large variety of indications and methods. Women’s views and experiences still need to be explored in more depth. This study evaluated outcomes and childbirth experiences with different induction methods as perceived by women.

A secondary data analysis of an online-survey with 698 participants comprising closed-ended and open-ended questions evaluating method and reason for induction, gestational age, mode of birth, assessment of received information, support and participation in decision-making, as well as the individual experience of labour and birth, was performed in 2015. Answers to open-ended questions were coded and assigned to main categories by inductive-content analysis. Subgroup analyses comparing frequencies of answer options or main categories dependent on induction methods and indications were conducted.

Women frequently expressed a need for more information and participation, and reported negative childbirth experiences. Women being offered castor oil or other complementary and alternative methods less often lacked information. However, these methods were markedly less effective to induce labour, but when successful were associated with reduced rates of epidural pain relieve and caesarean sections. Moreover, compared with prostaglandins, complementary methods were associated with significantly more positive personal experiences and fewer burdensome or traumatic births.

Our findings revealed a substantial lack of information and participation associated with many women perceiving negatively labour and childbirth following induction. Adequate honest information that gives way to realistic expectations about labour induction and enablement of participation are important prerequisites to improve personal experience and need to be enhanced in order to raise childbirth satisfaction.

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