A new study suggests that elective induction of labor significantly increases the chance of complications at birth.
Dr Rosalie Grivell, of the University of Adelaide, studied the data of over 28,000 births from South Australia, from 2006 to 2007. She compared labors that started spontaneously, those that were induced for medical reasons and those induced for “non recognized” reasons.
The women who were induced for non-recognized reasons had a 67% increased chance of c-section compared to the women who went into labor on their own. Their babies were also more likely to require special care (64% increase) or require treatment (44% increase) than the babies of moms who went into labor on their own. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) up to 10 percent of all deliveries in the US are scheduled before 39 weeks without medical reason. (That means the scheduling of the induction is done for patient or doctor preference.) Organizations such as The March of Dimes and the HHS have launched initiatives to raise awareness about the risks of early and medically unnecessary inductions.
“We hope our findings will increase awareness of the potential harmful effects that elective induction can have on both women and their infants. In the absence of serious maternal or fetal problems or a medical recommendation, induction of labor is best avoided,” said Dr. Grivell. “While a natural birth is not always possible for women who already have complications in pregnancy, the results of this study suggest that for women whose pregnancy is uncomplicated, awaiting the spontaneous onset of labor is best.”
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