Survey of Folk Beliefs About Induction of Labor


  • Jonathan Schaffir MD

    1. Jonathan Schaffir is in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, Ohio.
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Address correspondence to Jonathan Schaffir, MD, Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 525 Means Hall, 1654 Upham Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210.


Background: Many folk beliefs concerning the induction of labor are circulated among women in their final months of pregnancy. This study sought to identify the prevalence of some of these beliefs and whether or not they were more commonly shared in certain subsets of the community.Method: A survey was conducted of women receiving prenatal care at a group of Midwestern urban prenatal clinics. Women were asked about exposure to certain recommendations about inducing labor and to what extent each recommendation was believed.Results:One hundred and two women responded to the survey. Walking and having sex were the activities most commonly believed to hasten labor. These beliefs were equally prevalent across ages, parities, and levels of education.Conclusions:Folk beliefs about the induction of labor are varied and pervasive in an urban community. A review of scientific evidence relating to these beliefs can alert perinatal caregivers to potential benefit and harm that could ensue if certain recommendations are followed.