There's finally a way to induce labour without it taking forever.

On a list of what scares me the most in life, two things would top the list: confined spaces and, perhaps unsurprisingly, childbirth.

My early 20s have been enveloped by a desire to see studies, drugs, things that will ease the pain of childbirth for me later. (Or the invention of a way to have children without it… but that’s probably for another time.)

Luckily, researchers in the US seem to have my back: a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania has found a way to induce labour without it prolonging the time a woman is in childbirth.

In the US, nearly one-quarter of women who deliver are forced to have their labour induced. In Australia, as recently as 2013, that number was a little higher at about 28 per cent.

This Glorious Mess interview Milli Hill from the Positive Birth Movement. Post continues after audio.

Without a doubt, it’s one of the most common medical procedures in the world.

Despite this, labour induction is costly and, according the University of Pennsylvania, has no widely accepted “best practice”.

Researchers now believe they have found a way to reduce the time an induced woman is in labour by up to four hours.

In the study, the research team enrolled nearly 500 women who needed labor induction at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, randomly assigning them to one of four different treatments that obstetricians commonly use to induce labour.

As a result, researchers found the combination of the use of one drug, misoprostol, and a method called the Foley catheter method had the lowest average time between treatment and delivery.

natural birth versus caesarean
Researchers now believe they have found a way to reduce the time a induced woman is in labour by up to four hours. Image via iStock.

In simple terms? The combination of these two things to induce labour meant the time between treatment and delivery was only 13 hours.

If obstetricians were to use only the Foley method to induce labour? We're talking a labour time of about 17.7 hours.

Lead author of the research, Doctor Lisa D. Levine told The Cut they wanted to see what happened when the mixed up the treatments.

“Since women usually are in labor longer when they have their labor induced, I wanted to see if combining more than one method that’s currently used could actually lead to a faster delivery,” Dr. Levine told the website. (Post continues after gallery.)

And it's not just women who will reap the benefits of a faster and less painful time in labour.

"It has benefits to the health-care system in general because the faster women deliver, the quicker they can get out of the hospital,” Levine noted to The Cut.

Obviously, the findings will have to be examined on a much wider scale for them to be universally adopted. But it's certainly a great start.