Early Induced Deliveries Might "Give Birth" to Bad Results

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by Pregnancy.org Staff

In the news: Today's society banks on convenience -- even where giving birth's concerned. Most women and their OBGYN's don't even blink or think twice about scheduling an artificially-induced early birth for convenience's sake.

A new study by Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare is "cautioning against the practice due to elevated health risks for neonates."

The research that was started four years ago shows that "the need for intensive care among newborns with respiratory problems was twice as high among babies induced at 38 weeks and five times as high at 37 weeks, compared to infants induced after a full 39-week pregnancy.

The results prompted Intermountain to decrease the number of induced births for healthy women before 39 weeks, with an eye toward reducing the health risks.

The best result? There were fewer Cesarean sections performed, which reduced the risk of negative birth-related health outcomes.

In spite of the importance of this research, the news article that reported the study was titled, “New baby delivery strategies help cut health costs,” which ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross points out, “would only be interesting if I were a health economist, but would not grab my attention if I were a pregnant woman or her doctor — and that’s who should be taking heed of these warnings.”

While the study is still on-going, and the absolute risk of early induced childbirth may be fairly small, this new research should provide doctors and their patients food for thought since "delivering a baby even one or two weeks ahead of schedule is fraught with needless complications," adds Dr. Ross.

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