There is arguably no more natural process than pregnancy and delivery of a baby. The female body is wired for this process and most experts agree that the healthiest option for all concerned is to let nature take its course. But a growing trend is taking the delivery date out of Mother Nature’s hands and putting it into the hands of the expectant mother and her physician. Women are choosing to schedule their deliveries prior to their actual due dates. Termed elective induction, many health care professionals advise against this decision, citing increased risk of injury to the mother and the baby. But a recent study suggests that an elective induction may prove the best choice when an infant is considerably larger than average.
There are a variety of reasons why women choose elective inductions:
Life planning – This procedure allows expectant mothers to better plan other events in their life around the delivery, including a work schedule or child care for other children
Guaranteed availability of their doctor – Many women do not want to take a chance that they may go into labor when their regular doctor is unavailable or under circumstances where their delivery may occur in an emergency room
Pregnancy discomfort – Some women choose to induce on their expected due date, not wanting to deal with one single day of an overdue pregnancy
Medically, the reasons for inducement are much more technical and focused on the health of mother and child:
Preeclampsia – Severely elevated blood pressure in the mother is life threatening Diabetes – Diabetes in the expectant mother can cause distress to the baby
Inadequate growth – If determined that the fetus is not developing at a proper rate, the baby may prove more viable outside the womb
Substantially overdue pregnancies – A pregnancy that lasts significantly longer than the due date can lead to rupturing of the membrane, placing the baby in danger
A Fox News affiliate is reporting that elective inductions are beneficial when babies are larger than average. There is a reported risk among this population of the baby’s shoulders becoming stuck in the birth canal during delivery. A research study looked at these incidents and conducted research to determine if elective induction around week 37 or 38 of pregnancy would reduce the occurrence of injury. The study included 800 expectant mothers whose babies fell within the 95 percentile in weight. About half of the group delivered by elective inducement, while the other half was closely monitored. Shoulder dystocia and fractures reportedly occurred in two percent of the mothers who were induced, compared to six percent of the mothers who were not induced.
Obstetrician Aaron Caughey was quoted in the article as stating, “the … study would suggest that in the setting of a particularly large fetus, there may be some benefit to induction of labor.”
If your baby experienced a fracture or shoulder dystocia during delivery, contact the experienced birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti today.
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