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Induce at 39 weeks: Controversial, but the future?

Some doctors think it could decrease the risk of preeclampsia

(Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF)

TAMPA – A new study could change the way babies are born. Some doctors think it could decrease the risk of preeclampsia, cesarean sections and stillbirths. 

Carley Tish was born at 39 weeks.

"About 37 weeks, 38 weeks came around I was just begging her please just induce me now,"  Carley’s mother, Ashley Tish, explained to Ivanhoe.

University of South Florida Dr. Charles Lockwood helped birth study that found that inducing at 39 weeks resulted in 13 percent C-sections compared to 35 percent, and 9 percent severe neonatal complications compared to 13 percent. 

Lockwood said some research shows stillbirths and C-sections are on the rise.

“If a woman asks me how do I absolutely minimize my risk of C-section and maximize my possibility of a healthy baby, I’d have to say well an elective induction at 39 weeks,” Lockwood said.

“Essentially, this is turning our regular practice of delivery at term on its head," Florida Hospital Dr. Terri Lynn McEndree said.

McEndree said it may take baby steps to embrace these findings. 

“Many of my patients want to do this naturally and they don’t want intervention,” McEndree said.

McEndree said pushing induction was hasn’t been protocol.

“So now that this may become more mainstream, it is possible that we’re going to need to adjust staffing," McEndree added.

While Lockwood admitted inducing early is going to be controversial, it was the right choice for Tish and Charley.

“I’m just so glad I was induced. It would have been a long haul,” Tish said.

Lockwood said patients with placenta previa and breech presentation are just some examples of those who would not be candidates for induction at 39 weeks. Induction could cause uterine hyperstimulation. But all in all, doctors say the patient can make the decision.


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