Turns out, it is better to induce the labour than to wait and watch, a new research has stated.
According to the research conducted by the University of South Florida, first-time healthy mothers who electively induced (artificially stimulated) labour at 39 weeks are at less risk of cesarean delivery and other serious complications compared to those induced after 41 weeks.
Obstetricians generally recommend the procedure at that point since the pregnancy is considered 'late-term' and the placenta has more difficulty providing essential nutrients and oxygen to the fetus, increasing the chances of stillbirth and risks to the mother.
There's long been uncertainty about what happens during that three-week timeframe. So the researchers simulated patient outcomes by creating a rigorous mathematical model based on the data of 100,000 patients.
They found that compared to elective induction at 39 weeks, waiting to induce labor until after 41 weeks resulted in increased:
- C-section rates (35.9 vs. 13.9 percent)
- Maternal complications, such as preeclampsia and uterine rupture (21.2 vs. 16.5 percent)
- Stillbirths (0.13 vs. 0 percent)
- Newborn deaths (0.25 vs. 0.12 percent)
- Severe neonatal complications, such as respiratory distress and shoulder dystocia (12.1 vs. 9.4 percent)
"Safely preventing primary cesarean deliveries, stillbirths and reducing other perinatal complications are of the greatest concern," said principal investigator Charles J. Lockwood. "Sometimes clinicians do something because that is the way it's always been done. These findings demonstrate the importance of strong evidence-based research in informing and shaping standards of care."
The findings from the study are published in the journal PLOS ONE....