Induced labor at 39 weeks may reduce likelihood of C-section, IRP study suggests

Elective induction at 39 weeks also linked to lower risk of maternal high blood pressure disorders

Healthy first-time mothers whose labor was induced in the 39th week of pregnancy were less likely to deliver by cesarean section, compared to those who waited for labor to begin naturally, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers also found that infants born to women induced at 39 weeks were no more likely to experience stillbirth, newborn death or other severe complications, compared to infants born to uninduced women. The study results, which were presented earlier in brief form, now appear in detail in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Prior to this study, there was concern that induction of labor would increase the chance of cesarean delivery,” said study author Uma M. Reddy, M.D., of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “Our analysis suggests that elective induction at 39 weeks is associated with a lower rate of cesarean delivery and does not increase the risk of major complications for newborns.”

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022