In a prospective randomized study spontaneous and oxytocin induced labor "for convenience" have been compared with respect to uterine activity, duration of labor, the condition of the fetus and the newborn infant. The study consists of 84 normal patients, of whom 43 were induced at full term by amniotomy and oxytocin infusion using the Cardiff Infusion System Mark II; 41 patients served as controls. No difference in maternal age, number of previous pregnancies and pelvic score one week before the day of delivery were found between the groups. The following parameters were calculated: duration of labor, uterine activity, amount of bleeding in the third stage of labor, number of early and late decelerations as well as number of episodes of bradycardia in the CTG-recordings, birth weight, Apgar score one and five minutes post-delivery and blood gases in mother and child 60 seconds after delivery. No significant differences between the two groups were found. It is concluded that there are no increased risks to mother or fetus compared to normal labor provided that there is cephalic presentation and normal pregnancy, careful selection with respect to the length of pregnancy and the condition of the cervix and that the Cardiff infusion system is used with intrauterine pressure recording and continuous fetal heart monitoring.