Elective induction is becoming more common around the world, with many women being induced for social and other non-medical reasons. Compared with women who entered labor spontaneously, induction for non-recognized reasons was associated with a 67% increased chance of requiring a cesarean section. It also significantly increased the chance of the newborn infant requiring nursery care in a Special Care Baby Unit or requiring treatment compared with infants born following spontaneous onset of labor. Findings will increase awareness of the potential harmful effects that elective induction can have on both women and their infants. In the absence of serious maternal or fetal problems or a medical recommendation, induction of labor is best avoided. While a natural birth is not always possible for women who already have complications in pregnancy, the results of this study suggest that for women whose pregnancy is uncomplicated, awaiting the spontaneous onset of labor is best.