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Where a child is overdue or medical staff consider there to be a risk to the mother or child from continuing with a pregnancy, labour may be induced. If a physical ‘membrane sweep’ by a doctor or midwife does not begin contractions, then labour is induced through the application of a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin.
In the second and third stages of induced labour, the hormone oxytocin can be administered via a drip to speed up contractions if the labour fails to progress quickly enough.