There are 3 main reasons you may be offered an induction if you're overdue
If you're considered 'overdue' i.e past 42 weeks (sometimes you will be offered it earlier (say 41+5)
if your waters have broken
if you or your baby have a health problem
1.) If you're overdue
Induction is offered to all women who don't go into labour naturally by 42 weeks, as there's a higher risk of stillbirth or problems for the baby if you go over 42 weeks pregnant.
The NICE guidelines are clear that induction is voluntary and if you choose to go past 42 weeks and wait for spontaneous labour, you must go in for regular monitoring, usually daily.
2.) If your waters break early
If your waters break more than 24 hours before labour starts, there's an increased risk of infection to you and your baby. Your midwife or doctor should discuss your options with you before you make a decision.
They should also let you know about the newborn (neonatal) special care hospital facilities in your area. If your baby is born earlier than 37 weeks, she or he may be vulnerable to problems related to being premature.
You will most likely be offered a 24hr period to wait for your labour to start naturally before an induction process is started. The NICE guidelines state that 48hrs is the limit for a baby to be in utero when the membranes have ruptured.
3.) If you have a health condition or your baby isn't thriving (direct source NHS)
You may be offered an induction if you have a condition that means it'll be safer to have your baby sooner, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obstetric cholestasis (intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy). If this is the case, your doctor and midwife will explain your options to you so you can decide whether or not to have your labour induced.
The main part of all these statements and scenarios above is that your doctor and midwife should explain all of your options and give you a chance to use your BRAIN. If you start hearing words that alarm you, question whether you're 'allowed' or make you feel out of control, pause and ask questions. Inductions are planned in advance and are by no means an emergency, you will therefore always have the option for discussion. If you feel you have a clear communication and all your questions are answered, you will feel calm, whether facing an induction decision because of timing or medical necessity, you should still feel in control.
NICE GUIDELINES -
The NICE guidelines are very clear on the communication you should receive - direct transcript below :-
Healthcare professionals should explain the following points to women being offered induction of labour:
the reasons for induction being offered
when, where and how induction could be carried out
the arrangements for support and pain relief (recognising that women are likely to find induced labour more painful than spontaneous labour)
the alternative options if the woman chooses not to have induction of labour
the risks and benefits of induction of labour in specific circumstances and the proposed induction methods
that induction may not be successful and what the woman's options would be.
If you do not feel the above is being discussed with you, push for it.
Remember, it's your body, your baby, your birth. YOU.ARE.IN.CHARGE!