Give your baby the full benefit of full-term
It is not easy waiting through those last uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy, wondering when your baby will arrive. It can be challenging to schedule events, and if you work outside the home, to know when you should start maternity leave.
It would seem that scheduling your baby’s birth would make things a lot easier.
“Unless there is a medical reason, there are many benefits to letting your baby and your body decide the baby’s birth day,” said Frederick J. Boehm, MD, who is a Ministry Medical Group OB / GYN in Stevens Point.
Here are ten reasons to go a full nine months.
- If you allow spontaneous labor, there are fewer complications for you and your baby. A naturally-timed delivery without complications allows mother and baby to bond immediately after delivery.
- Your baby’s brain continues to develop until he or she is born. Consider that your baby’s brain will gain 1/3 of its size between 35 weeks and full-term.
- Waiting until the baby is term will help your baby regulate his or her body temperature.
- Babies who are born at term can suck and swallow better than babies born earlier; their muscles are more developed.
- A naturally-timed delivery will reduce your baby’s risk of jaundice, low blood sugar and infection.
- Babies born at 38 weeks have twice the number of breathing problems than babies born at 40 weeks. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that 2006 infant mortality rates of babies born at 40 weeks was 1.9 per 1,000 babies compared to 3.9 per 1,000 when babies were delivered at 37 weeks.
- Inducing labor often means a longer and more painful labor. Many times pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin, is used to induce labor. This synthetic hormone often causes stronger, more painful contractions.
- Inducing labor puts you at a higher risk of needing a cesarean section. According to a report in Obstetrics & Gynecology 37 percent of women who chose to have elective inductions had to have an emergency C-section because their cervix would not dilate. A cesarean section is major surgery, often requiring an extended hospital stay, longer recovery and risk of another cesarean with subsequent pregnancies.
- More time in the womb for the baby usually means the baby spends less time in the hospital. According to an article in a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, more than 25 percent of infants born electively between 37 and 39 weeks were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for an average of 4.5 days, compared with fewer than 5 percent of infants who were delivered at 39 weeks or later.
- According to a recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, third-grade students who were born at 37 and 38 weeks scored “significantly lower” on standardized tests than students who were born at 39 to 40 weeks. The study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
The study involved 128,000 New York City public school students who were born between 37 and 41 weeks in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Of those children born at 37 weeks, 2.3 percent had “severely poor reading skills” and 1.1 percent had “at least moderate problems in math.” The comparable rates of difficulty for children born at 41 weeks was 1.8 percent for reading and 0.9 percent for math. Children born at 38 weeks faced only slightly lower risks than those born at 37 weeks.
If labor starts spontaneously at 37 weeks, it may be allowed to continue, however, inducing labor early would not be the best choice for you or your baby.
If you would like a few more reasons to wait until full-term.