Uterine contraction pressures were quantified (in Montevideo units) in 109 women at term gestation who received oxytocin for induction or augmentation of labor and whose labor resulted in a spontaneous vaginal delivery. Newborn five-minute Apgar scores were greater than or equal to 8 in 108 of the 109 neonates, and no immediate neonatal morbidity was attributable to the oxytocin stimulation of labor. Women undergoing oxytocin induction had significantly greater uterine contraction pressures than those with oxytocin augmentation. During oxytocin induction 91% of women achieved at least 200 to 224 Montevideo Units and 40% at least 300 Montevideo units versus 77 and 7.7%, respectively, during augmentation of labor. With concurrent fetal monitoring these levels of uterine activity should be sought before consideration of a cesarean delivery because of presumed cephalopelvic disproportion or failure to progress.