Labour induction practices in France: A population-based declarative survey in 94 maternity units

J Gynecol Obstet Hum Reprod. 2018 Feb;47(2):57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jogoh.2017.11.006. Epub 2017 Nov 28.


Introduction: In 2016, 22.0% of deliveries in France were induced. The current lack of high level of evidence data about the methods and indications for induction of labour has promoted heterogeneous and non-recommended practices. The extent of these different practices is not adequately known in France today, although they may influence perinatal outcomes. The objective of this study was to report current practices of induction of labour in France.

Material and methods: This study surveyed 94 maternity units in seven perinatal networks. A questionnaire was sent by email to either the department head or delivery room supervisor of these units to ask about their methods for induction and their attitudes in specific obstetric situations.

Results: The rate of induction varied between maternity units from 7.7% to 33% of deliveries. Most units used two (39.4%) or three or more (35.1%) agents for cervical ripening. In all, 87 (92.6%) units reported using dinoprostone as a vaginal slow-released insert, 59 units dinosprostone as a vaginal gel (62.8%) and 46 units a balloon catheter (48.9%). Only three units reported using vaginal misoprostol. Inductions without medical indication were reported by 71 (75.5%) maternity units, and 22 (23.4%) units even when the cervix was unfavourable. Obstetric attitudes in cases of breech presentation, previous caesareans, fetal growth restriction or macrosomia and prelabour rupture of the membranes varied widely.

Discussion: The variability of practices for induction of labour and the persistence of disapproved practices call for an assessment of the effectiveness and the safety of the different strategies.

Keywords: Cervical ripening; Induction of labour; Obstetric practices; Oxytocin; Prostaglandins.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Ripening* / drug effects
  • Dinoprostone / administration & dosage
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Dinoprostone / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, Maternity / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Labor, Induced / methods*
  • Labor, Induced / standards
  • Labor, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Misoprostol / administration & dosage
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage
  • Oxytocics / therapeutic use*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Process Assessment, Health Care*


  • Oxytocics
  • Misoprostol
  • Dinoprostone