Are Scheduled Births Harmful?

You are nearing the end of your pregnancy and you feel so uncomfortable, you would do almost anything to give birth and be onto the next phase of life. In your laments to your doctor she/he casually mentions that you could go ahead and just schedule an induction.

You think about how much easier it would be to just know when the baby is coming, be able to have family help and just be done with all this already.

The only problem? You’re only 37 weeks.

What do you do?

It may surprise you (or may not at all) to know that non-medical scheduled inductions/cesareans are on the rise. But does it surprise you to know that these scheduled births could put the baby at risk for lots of healthy problems and even death? A recent story done by NPR confirms what my midwives have always told me – babies are ready when they are ready. If we mess with that, we are deciding the risks are worth it.

From the piece:

Statistics show that from 1990 to 2006 the percentage of women who induced labor more than doubled, and nearly a third of women were having cesareans.

The increase wasn’t because of emergencies, says Jay Iams, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine at Ohio State University, but rather because women and doctors began scheduling deliveries for convenience — “convenience for the mother, for the family, for the physician,” says Iams. Sometimes, Iams says, it’s because patients say to themselves, ” ‘I want only my doctor to be there. I don’t want the person who’s on call.’ “

 

How soon is too soon? Check this out:

Pediatrician Ed Donovan of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital says data collected over the past several decades show those babies have an increased risk of complications compared with waiting until the mother goes into labor spontaneously.

“It’s now really well-documented in national studies that the risk of the baby having to require intensive care in a neonatal intensive care unit — even the risk of infant death — is increased when the baby is born as little as two weeks before the due date,” says Donovan.

 

Doctors and organizations like March of Dimes are trying to educate doctors (my note: WHY do they not already know these risks?!):

The March of Dimes has taken what began in Ohio and a few other select states and extended it nationwide in a campaign it’s calling “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.” Alan Fleischman of the March of Dimes says the rate of elective births in the hospitals the organization has surveyed is about 30 percent.

“Most hospital leaders don’t believe they have this problem until they actually measure it,” says Fleischman. “And when they do, they’re surprised.”

As in Ohio, their preliminary data show that in only a short period of time, even hospitals with very high rates of scheduled deliveries are able to reduce them to about 5 percent or less by making a few simple changes — and in turn, increase the likelihood of a healthy baby.

 

I’ve seen so many friends have babies before the baby was ready – some with no consequences and some with dire ones. What say you? Are you on board with “worth the wait” mentality or are you thinking it’s all hullabaloo?

 

 

 

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