Autophagy is an intracellular process that maintains homeostasis by the removal of damaged organelles and proteins. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the autophagy-related 16-like 1 (ATG16L1) gene results in decreased autophagy. We evaluated whether the ATG16L1 polymorphism influenced the time to delivery during labor induction in pregnant women with an unfavorable cervix. DNA from 69 women with an unfavorable cervix who required labor induction due to post-term (>294 days) (n=26), oligohydramnios (n=17), hypertension or pre-eclampsia (n=10), abnormal fetal heart rate (n=8), diabetes (n=3) or other reasons (n=5) was tested by gene amplification and endonuclease digestion for a SNP in ATG16L1 (rs2241880). The mean hours (SD) from induction to delivery was 20.8 (9.7) for women who were A,A homozygotes, 19.2 (8.8) for A,G heterozygotes and 14.3 (6.6) for homozygote carriers of the G,G variant (P=0.03 A,A vs. G,G, P=0.04 A,A/A,G vs. G,G). The G,G prevalence was 24.4% and 4.2% for those who delivered in ≤24 and >24 h, respectively (P=0.04). There was no difference in genotype distribution by indication for induction. A decreased genetic capacity for autophagy may be beneficial in women with an unfavorable cervix whose labor has to be induced.