Inducing labor without a medical reason is associated with negative outcomes for the mother, including increased rates of cesarean delivery, greater blood loss and an extended length of stay in the hospital, and does not provide any benefit for the newborn. As the number of scheduled deliveries continues to climb, it is important for physicians and mothers-to-be to understand the risks associated with elective induction.
The new findings, published in the February issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, only apply to women having their first child, and may not pertain to women having their second or third child.
"The benefits of a procedure should always outweigh the risks. If there aren't any medical benefits to inducing labor, it is hard to justify doing it electively when we know it increases the risks for the mother and the baby," said Christopher Glantz, M.D., M.P.H., study author and professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
In the past decade, scheduled deliveries have become commonplace, with physicians making elective inductions part of their routine obstetric care. Study authors cite social reasons, such as convenience and patient requests to deliver with "their" physician, for the ongoing increase in purely elective inductions.
While physicians and patients alike may assume that inducing labor is harmless, it does not work as well as natural labor: Since you are essentially starting the birthing process from ground zero, more problems are likely to arise.
"As a working professional and a mother, I know how tempting it can be to schedule a delivery to try to get your life in order, but there is a reason that babies stay in the womb for the full term," said Loralei Thornburg, M.D., an assistant professor who specializes in maternal fetal medicine. "Why put you and your newborn at risk if you don't have to?"
Researchers found that approxim
|Contact: Emily Boynton|
University of Rochester Medical Center