Background: Induction of labour is common in modern obstetrics but its impact on women’s birth experiences is inconclusive.
Aim: The aim of the present study was to explore the prevalence of induction in a Swedish region and reasons for labour induction. A second aim was to compare the experience of spontaneous labour and birth for women to the experience of induction of labour. A third aim was to explore the difference in labour in relation to the length of pregnancy.
Methods: A one-year cohort of 936 women was included in a longitudinal Swedish survey in which data were collected by questionnaires, two months after birth. The main outcome was a set of data recording women’s birth experiences.
Results: Labour induction was performed in 17% of births and mostly performed for medical reasons. Women who were induced used more epidurals (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.4–3.8) for pain relief and used bath/shower less frequently for pain relief (OR 0.3; 95% CI 0.2–0.5). Labour induction was associated with a less positive birth experience (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.0–2.3), and women who were induced were more likely to totally agree that they were frightened that the baby would be damaged during birth (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.2–3.9), but the assessment of feelings during birth differed with regard to length of pregnancy.
Conclusion: Labour induction affects women’s experiences of birth and is related to length of pregnancy.