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Some doctors questioning labor induction guidelines

It has long been the established guideline of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that women aren't induced until they are 42-weeks pregnant. The induction can be considered a week earlier but shouldn't be done until that mark. Of course, this is unless there are medical issues present with the pregnancy.

A new school of thought is challenging that guideline with the thought that women should be induced at 39 weeks. Women who are against this new thought note that there is already enough interference with pregnancies that aren't medically complex.

Older literature notes that elective inductions at 39 weeks would increase the number of Cesarean sections performed. That is being combated by the increased risk of stillbirth after 38 weeks of pregnancy. One doctor noted that there isn't any benefit to the fetus if the pregnancy is allowed to continue past 39 weeks.

Proponents of the 39-week induction noted that inducing at that point might actually reduce C-section rates. They also note that dangerous conditions in the mother and fetus might also be minimized with the induction at this point.

One doctor who supports these earlier inductions notes that the risk of neurological injuries and stillbirth rise at 39 weeks. Of course, it is important that this earlier induction only occurs if the pregnancy is a well-dated one.

Every pregnancy can present circumstances that require an obstetrician to remain flexible when caring for the woman and her baby. Doctors who try to stick fast to guidelines might end up causing the woman or her baby undue harm. Those women might opt to seek compensation for that harm.

Source: Daily Herald, "Inducing birth at 39 weeks may be good medicine," Megan Margulies, July 17, 2016

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