Swedish Medical Center, HealthONE and the March of Dimes advise that you wait until at least 39 weeks to induce labor or have a c-section if it is not medically needed. Give your baby all the time he needs to grow unless there are medical problems that make it necessary to have your baby earlier.
Experts are learning that scheduling an early birth for non-medical reasons can cause problems for mom and baby. For example:
- Your due date may not be exactly right. Sometimes it’s hard to know just when you got pregnant. If you schedule to induce labor or have a cesarean birth (also called a c-section) and your date is off by a week or two, your baby may be born too early.
- Inducing labor may not work. If your labor is induced, the medicine your doctor or CNM gives you may not start your labor. When this happens, you may need to have a c-section.
- A c-section can cause problems for your baby. Babies born by c-section may have more breathing and other medical problems than babies born by vaginal birth.
- C-sections can cause problems in future pregnancies. Once you have a c-section, you may be more likely in future pregnancies to have a c-section. The more c-sections you have, the more problems you and your baby may have, including problems with the placenta.
- A c-section is a major surgery for mom. It takes longer for you to recover from a c-section than from a vaginal birth. You can expect to spend 2 to 4 days in the hospital after a c-section. Then you’ll need about 4 to 6 weeks after you go home to fully recover. You also could have complications from the surgery, like infections and bleeding. So it’s important to stay in touch with your health care provider even after you go home.