Women's Evaluations of Induction of Labor Versus Expectant Management for Prelabor Rupture of the Membranes at Term
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BACKGROUND: Induction of labor has become common practice in many Western countries, but few studies have assessed women's views. METHODS: A randomized, controlled trial was conducted at 72 hospitals in six countries. Five thousand forty-one women meeting eligibility criteria, with no contraindications for induction of labor or expectant management, were randomly assigned to four groups: induction with intravenous oxytocin, induction with vaginal prostaglandin E2 gel, or expectant management followed by induction with either oxytocin or with prostaglandin E2 gel if complications developed. The three main outcome measures were evaluations of the treatment received, perceived control during childbirth, and evaluations of the experience of trial participation. RESULTS: Questionnaires were completed by 81.9 percent of the sample. No significant differences occurred between the two induction groups. Compared with the expectant management groups, induced women were less likely to report there was nothing they liked about their treatment and less likely to report that the treatment caused additional worry. No between-group differences occurred in experienced control during childbirth. Women in the induction groups were more likely to be willing to participate in the study again and to feel reassured. CONCLUSIONS: Women's preferences should be considered when making decisions about their method of management when membranes rupture before labor. Obtaining participants' views is both feasible and worthwhile when evaluating forms of medical care.
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