A full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but elective deliveries are often planned for two or three weeks earlier. And even though 37 weeks is also still considered full term, studies show that babies born even a few weeks too early are at greater risk for health problems than those who are born later. That has some doctors campaigning to curb the trend of scheduled labor and delivery.
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. (bolding mine)
My delivery was induced for health reasons, and though it was very hard on my baby and ended in a c-section, I am so glad have this often life-saving option for both mom and baby. However, if you’re pregnant, or know someone who is, please think carefully before you schedule an induction or c-section for convenience or because of discomfort. Your baby will almost always tell you when it’s ready to be born.
You’ll go into labor.
It’ll happen. I promise, you won’t be pregnant forever.