Skip to main content

Failed Inductions: What You Need to Know

Failed Inductions: What You Need to Know

When we talk about inductions, we often speak of them like they are 100% guaranteeing us a baby at the end. While this is true most of the time, you’d probably be surprised to learn that indcutins can fail and you may be sent home to wait it out a bit longer. Or, if the option isn’t presented to you, you can ask or take yourself home. It is important to ensure that you and your baby are safe to go home.There are thousands of women each year that experience a failed induction and it can be very hard emotionally. 

What is a failed induction?

A failed induction is the inability to reach active labor while being induced.

There is a certain process we want to take when it comes to induction. I call this your ‘individual induction equation.’ It’s truly individual to you and you get to introduce various induction methods as you see fit which makes your equation unique to you. First we want to ripen the cervix--it needs to be soft. You have options of how we achieve this. Then we need to begin dilation. Many times in undisturbed, unmedicated (no narcotic use or induction) labor, the first few centimeters are accomplished with little or no pain. Many times birthing people will unknowingly walk around a few centimeters dilated in late pregnancy--this is completely normal! You’re that much closer to your goal and didn’t have to work for it! That’s amazing!

If your cervix is effaced and not dilating at all, it’s possible you aren’t ready to have a baby. If you choose to keep going, the next step is to get contractions going. You have a few choices of how you can do this! You can try walking and physical movement. You can try natural oxytocin like nipple stimulation, intimacy with your partner or visualization. You can also try pitocin which is artificial oxytocin. Your body metabolizes it differently so it will impact your contractions. Finally you can break your waters. This is an especially important decision for birthing people who are GBS+ as you will no longer have the option to leave because you will need to begin receiving antibiotics. You can also choose (GBS+ or GBS-) to save this for later in labor plus it allows you to return home.

When using Pitocin, be very mindful of how much you are using, for how long and how your body is reacting. Pitocin is a drug that needs to be used with respect (25% of people who receive Pitocin will have a c-section). If your body is truly not ready to birth a baby, you may find yourself experiencing a failed induction. You want to be educated on a reasonable amount of time to try to induce before you call it and say, “we’ll try again later because my body is clearly not ready.” There is evidence to support the idea that the longer it takes a laboring person to reach 6cm, the less likely they are to have a vaginal delivery. If your body is not responding to medical induction (and you + your baby are safe), instead of forcing it, you could consider going home and giving your body more time. Also, your baby would probably appreciate the extra time, too! That same study also shares that women who were in the latent phase and receiving pitocin for 12 hours still were able to achieve a vaginal delivery meaning we should not call it ‘failure to progress’ before at least 12 hours of pitocin.

TIP: Failure to progress is defined as 6 hours with no cervical change after 6cm. Failure to progress cannot be deemed before 6cm. It is also evidence based to expect a “pause” in labor around the 6cm mark for women who have very long labors. We should be patient as their bodies are typically just resting for active labor and pushing. Evidence Based Birth says, “if more care providers begin using evidence-based definitions of labor arrest and failed induction, we will begin to see fewer of these diagnoses, and a simultaneous, safe lowering of the Cesarean rate.”

A few reasons your induction may fail:

Your baby is not ready. Check out the science on what actually initiates the start of labor (if you were not induced). It will probably be surprising to you! It has quite a lot to do with your baby! Inductions increase your risk of further interventions, including c-section, and this is called ‘the cascade of interventions.’ As c-sections rise, so does infant mortality and NICU stays for respiratory distress since babies were born before spontaneous labor started. Obviously there are tons of evidence reasons to wait for your labor to start on it’s own and one of the most important is your baby’s lung development!

You were induced with a low Bishop Score. You can see here that it is flawed, but also the best tool we have at the moment to predict your chance of a successful induction. Read more about the Bishop Score here!

If you are wondering if a 39-week induction is for you, here is a breakdown of what you need to know about The ARRIVE Trial. If you doctor mentioned this to you, make sure you read this breakdown so you understand why it may not be applicable to you!

The Bottom Line

Be mentally and emotionally prepared when you go for an induction that it is not guaranteed to work! You can have a ‘failed induction’ and I highly suggest you listen to your body and baby on this one. Remember, your baby’s development is very much a driving force of labor starting! There are also things you can do to check your chances of having a successful induction like knowing your bishop score and having a plan of when to call off a failed induction.

If you want to learn more about your birth choices or how to advocate for your birth goals, join The Birth Lounge!


  1. Hello everyone, I am from Wembley, Britain. I want to write this testimony to tell others and thank Dr. Odunga for what he has done for me. The first 12 years of my marriage I had 5 miscarriages and I was called all sorts of names by my mother-in-law and this made my marriage life very hectic and a burden of sorrow. I contacted Dr. Odunga for help and I will say that he is a very strong and honest man and he indeed helped me solve my problem. I saw his email in a testimony and I contacted him, little did I know it would be the end of all my problems. After 2 days of contact, I received a fertility herb and he told me to use it. The herb worked and my husband even loved me more and bought me expensive things. One afternoon, I went to a nearby hospital and came back home with the positive result of my pregnancy and after 9 months I gave birth to a baby boy. Ever since I contacted Dr. Odunga, my story has been different. I have 3 children at present and I am very happy in my marriage. Please, contact him at odungaspelltemple@gmail. com OR Whats App him +2348167159012 to help you too


    I’m just upset that I have been in pain and crying for so long and many times. Thank you
    I wished I would have found you earlier, you would have saved me from a lot of pain for the past five years my ex lover left me for another woman in just 2 days i contacted you Dr Omokpo you brought my broken relationship back
    I spent a small fortune enough to take my dream trip to South Carolina but what’s the point in taking a dream trip without the love of my life. Dr Omokpo has given me hope and his honesty is a breath of fresh air, I feel so good and heavy happiness in my heart to get my ex lover back. Who I thought he was gone forever. We are married now as I share my testimony with you. If you have broken relationship or broken marriage or you want to get your ex lover back kindly contact:


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Vagina Whispering: Everyone's Doing It

Meet The Vagina Whisperer [This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen  here .] Hey Tranquility Tribe!  I’m so excited to bring you this episode of the Tranquility Tribe podcast!  Today, Hehe talked to Sara Reardon, also known as the Vagina Whisperer.  As you may be able to guess from her nickname, Sara is an expert in all things vagina, which means that this episode is full of super essential and often understated topics! Who is the Vagina Whisperer? Sara Reardon is a physical therapist who currently practices in New Orleans.   She specializes in men and women’s pelvic floor health, and she is passionate about speaking up when it comes to treatment and prevention of pelvic health issues.   By bringing humor to the often sensitive topic of staying healthy “down there,” Sara helps to unpack countless vagina-related topics that many women have experience with but few are comfortable talking about.   In addition t

8 Questions to Ask During a Doula Interview

8 Questions to Ask During a Doula Interview  Ever see something on the internet that makes you cringe... Do you ever see anything on the internet that makes you cringe so hard that you want to scream? I can name a couple: the incessant bickering on FB, the mom's groups that everyone thinks they are a medical doctor or a licensed psychologist, and don't forget about the person who post what they are doing when they are doing it every single day (I also worry about their safety!). Whew, it's exhausting.  Over my time as a doula, there is one thing that still makes me cringe just as hard now as it did the very first time I experienced it. There is nothing worse than an expectant parent who shows up to an interview with printed questions from the internet. The worst questions are the ones that highlight the fact that this person truly has no idea what a doula can truly do to transform their birth experience. The questions of "How long have you been a doula?&quo

Alcohol in Pregnancy

Alcohol in Pregnancy Today I wanted to chat alcohol and pregnancy. I sometimes see or hear expectant parents make jokes like, 'I wish I could have a glass of wine'. And I just wonder to myself, is this a place for me to say, 'You can'. Actually, the research says that it is okay. Or are these people like truly joking? I feel like this is a discussion we should have. Now I think if we're gonna understand drinking during pregnancy and postpartum, we first have to break down how your body breaks down and absorbs alcohol. And a lot of people have this misconception that you drink alcohol and then it's just zooms to your baby. Or you drink alcohol while you're breastfeeding and your baby just gets a serving of alcohol with the next feed. It's just not like that. You ingest the alcohol and it goes into your digestive system and then it goes into your bloodstream and then your liver is actually going to filter the alcohol. Some alcohol can pass into the p