Inducing labor at 39 weeks reduces risks of C-section and other complications

April 25, 2018, University of South Florida
Baby born at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida via c-section. Credit: Sandra Roa

It's better to induce than to watch and wait. That's the result of a new study published in PLOS ONE.

Researchers at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine found first-time healthy mothers electively induced (artificially stimulated) 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 USF researchers simulated patient outcomes by creating a rigorous mathematical model based on 100,000 patients, data collected by the National Institute of Health's Safe Labor Consortium. They found 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 , stillbirths and reducing other perinatal complications are of the greatest concern," said principal investigator Charles J. Lockwood, MD, for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. "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."

Explore further: Induced labor after 39 weeks in healthy women may reduce the need for cesarean birth

Related Stories

Induced labor after 39 weeks in healthy women may reduce the need for cesarean birth

February 1, 2018
Approximately one-third of women in the United States give birth via cesarean delivery. While life-saving in the right circumstances, cesarean birth also carries with it significant risks, including an increased likelihood ...

Elective induction at term tied to lower odds of cesarean

September 13, 2013
(HealthDay)—Compared with expectant management, elective induction at term (37 to 40 weeks of gestation) is associated with reduced likelihood of cesarean delivery, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in Obstetrics ...

Almost one in four stillbirths potentially preventable

January 19, 2018
(HealthDay)—Almost one in four stillbirths are potentially preventable, according to a study published online Jan. 9 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Study indicates need for more obstetric quality of care measures at hospitals

October 14, 2014
In an analysis of data on more than 100,000 deliveries and term newborns from New York City hospitals, rates for certain quality indicators and complications for mothers and newborns varied substantially between hospitals ...

Unnecessary induction of labor increases risk of cesarean section and other complications

March 6, 2012
A new study published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica reveals that induction of labor at term in the absence of maternal or fetal indications increases the risk of cesarean section and other postpartum ...

Fever during labor may present risk to mother

September 28, 2017
Intrapartum fever—fever that occurs during labor—occurs in approximately 1-2% of deliveries and is often associated with maternal and neonatal complications. But the precise reasons for the fever and its different outcomes ...

Recommended for you

Undiagnosed STIs can increase negative PMS symptoms

September 17, 2018
Women that have undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections may be at greater risk of experiencing negative premenstrual symptoms (PMS), according to new Oxford University research.

High dose folic acid does not prevent pre-eclampsia in high risk women

September 13, 2018
Taking high dose folic acid supplements in later pregnancy (beyond the first trimester) does not prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk for this condition, finds a randomised controlled trial published by The BMJ today.

Study finds air purifiers may benefit fetal growth

September 12, 2018
A new study led by SFU health sciences researchers Prabjit Barn and Ryan Allen reveals fetal growth may improve if pregnant women use portable air purifiers inside their homes.

Delayed childbearing is a growing source of multiple births, study shows

September 12, 2018
Starting in the 1980s, the number of multiple births—twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets—steadily increased from about 20 sets per 1,000 live births to almost 35 sets per 1,000 live births in the 2010s.

Transforming pregnancy research with a smartphone app

September 5, 2018
For years, pregnant women have been underrepresented in biomedical research. Current treatments, interventions and guidelines do a poor job of taking into consideration the diverse characteristics of all pregnant women.

For women undergoing IVF, is fresh or frozen embryo transfer best?

August 21, 2018
The world's first baby born via in-vitro fertilization turned 40 years old this summer. Still, after four decades, IVF is a relatively new field with ongoing debate on how to get the best results for families who have placed ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LaPortaMA
not rated yet Apr 25, 2018
DISGRACEFUL title and idea.
simulated patient outcomes
Your Italian vocabulary word lesson for today:
DISGRAZIATI.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.