Considering Induction? Learn Your Bishop's Score

If your care provider suggests an induction, the first step is to determine if it truly is necessary for the health of you and/or your baby. While the practice of induction is common in the U.S. medical establishment (it occurs in more than 22% of births), research shows that it is not always necessary (as in the case for a suspected large baby).

When discussing induction with your care provider, one of the first questions to ask is, "What is my Bishop's Score?" The Bishop's Score is a set of scores, ranging from 0-13, given before a woman is in labor to assess her likelihood of success with labor induction. The Bishop's Score looks at the following parameters: the baby's position and station, and the consistency, effacement and dilation of a woman's cervix. Additional points are given or subtracted for preeclampsia, prior vaginal deliveries, a pregnancy that is postdates, first-time pregnancy and early or prolonged rupture of membranes. The higher the score, the more favorable a woman's body is for induction and less likely that birth will end in cesarean surgery. A score of 5 or less generally indicates that induction is unlikely to be successful.

Find our your Bishop's Score using the standard scoring chart (also available as an iPhone app!).  Discuss the score with your care provider and ask about your options. If your score is low, ask about the risks of waiting for your body to become more favorable for induction or for labor to start on its own. If your care provider insists on inducing, consider seeking a second professional opinion.


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