How a Bishop Score May Determine if You'll Get Induced

It may be jargony, but a Bishop score can help your doctor decide whether or not to induce labor. Learn what it is and how it works.
ByThe Bump Editors
Updated
May 2017
pregnant woman hospital labor
Photo: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

It sounds like something out of a chess match or maybe a Catholic school report card, but the Bishop score is actually a number your doctor will use as a prediction of how successful an induction is likely to be.

For example, if you’re at 40 weeks or there’s some kind of problem, your doctor may look at your Bishop score to determine if induction is the way to go (versus a c-section).

Basically, the score is a combination of how soft, open and thin your cervix is and where baby is positioned in your pelvis. It’s typically assessed in the hospital at the time of induction. The score ranges from 0 to 10, and the higher the number, the more likely the induction will result in a successful vaginal delivery. If you’re on the low end of the scale (less than 6), you may be given medications such as prostaglandins upon arrival to the hospital to “ripen” the cervix and move labor along.

But keep in mind that this isn’t actually a term you’re likely to hear when you’re in the labor and delivery area—most OBs refer to this number when they’re writing up research papers, not counseling patients.

Expert: Melissa M. Goist, MD, assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, The Ohio State University Medical Center.

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