In a world of "only four periods a year," encouraging C-sections and jump starting the birthing process, it's no surprise that more mothers and doctors are choosing to induce labor before the nine months are up. Researchers claim that doctors "electively induce a woman in the 37th or 38th week, even though the accepted wisdom is that it's needlessly risky" before week 39.
Now a report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology says it isn't just risky. It's also poor money sense.
While most babies have ended up being perfectly healthy if born at the beginning of the full term, there is an increased likelihood of complications and of having to perform C-sections, which are becoming more and more controversial these days as it is. But early induced labor also increases neonatal intensive care. If the 10-15 percent of early induced births were curbed, the report claims that we'd save one billion dollars annually. That's nothing to sneeze at.
In a world where deciphering what a woman's choice look like seems to be getting more (and not less) difficult, it's hard to say if it's ethical to discourage women and doctors from early induced labor. After all, pregnancy is often extremely uncomfortable, and circumstances can arise that would make an early induced labor pretty tempting. And in a world of modern medicine, the risks aren't nearly as bad they used to be. So what's the issue?
I guess the issue is: is it okay to induce labor early for medical reasons when there are other external factors at stake? The health of the baby, the chance of a C-section, the money spent on the procedures. What is pregnancy supposed to look like? I'd like to think it is supposed to be a period that provides safety and health for both mom and baby. That's what matters most. Anything that leads to that goal seems to be fine.
That said, I'm not sure if it's right for doctors to encourage early induced labor practices. There are by no means no risks, and it feels less like doctors thinking about health and more about doctors thinking about a larger agenda. There should still be a component of holistic thinking when considering delivery options, right?