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Commentary on: Zhang J, Yancey MK, Henderson CE. U.S. national trends in labor induction, 1989–1998. J Reprod Med 2002;47:120–124. MacDorman MF, Mathews TJ, Martin JA, Malloy MH. Trends and characteristics of induced labour in the United States, 1989–98. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2002;16:263–273. Kozak LJ, Weeks JD. U.S. trends in obstetric procedures, 1990–2000. Birth 2002;29:157–161.

Abstract: Three recent studies examined the national trend in labor induction in the United States. All show a doubling in the rate of induction during the 1990s, although vital statistics data show a consistently higher trend than that obtained from national hospital discharge data. Neither data source adequately documents the full range of indications for induction, its timing, hospital staffing considerations, and other factors that may play a role. Although rates of induction of labor may be leveling off, despite a lack of scientific evidence for its widespread use, rates are likely to remain at current levels for the next few years.