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Induction 101: What is a Bishop Score?

At the end of pregnancy we are all uncomfortable. Lets face it… it just comes with the territory of creating, growing, and ultimately giving life to a new person. Our bodies do amazing things, but who ever said it was going to be a walk in the park?

In recent years the growing number of elective inductions have started to grow, and along with those numbers is the growing number of preventable c-sections taking place. While many may be necessary at the time, they could have been prevented by skipping things like elective inductions, or other interventions during childbirth.

We have also seen a growing number of medical organizations, as well as The March of Dimes speaking out about elective delivery before 39 weeks gestation in the past two years.

So when it comes to induction, I always suggest women learn more about their Bishop Score. What exactly is it?  What does it do?  What does it prevent or calculate?

Because lets face it, not all women are really researching or learning as much as they can or should be about birth before they walk into the labor and delivery unit. At least studies show.

What exactly is a Bishop Score?   Basically it is a score that assesses several physical factors that suggest whether or not labor induction will be successful, or the level of success  induction will have on you in your current state of pregnancy.

What is assessed?

  • Cervical Dilation
  • Cervical Effacement
  • Cervical Consistency
  • Cervical Position
  • Fetal Station

Each category or component is given a 0-2 or 0-3 score, and the highest possible score is a 13.  The higher the score, the better chances of having a successful labor induction without the need to surgical intervention.

The best table I have come across that explains the score is from answers.com:

Depending on who you ask, some believe that a score less than 8 means an induction will likely not be successful, and a score 5 or under means that labor will not begin on its own without induction. Which I personally find silly because if an induction is not going to be successful, or at least they predict it to not be successful, why start it?

I hope that all of the pregnant women out there take a couple minutes to check this out if they are considering induction, or if your provider is suggesting labor induction!

photo:/flickr.com/myllissa

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