Trigger: Mention of child's death.
For many pregnant women, giving birth doesn't happen before or on your expected due date. Instead, you're likely to go past your due date, which can be incredibly frustrating. You hope you'll only be a day or two late- but sometimes it's more than that. Depending on just how late you are and your baby's size (among other factors), being induced might be the way to go about triggering labour.
As a matter of fact, doctors are now recommending women to be induced if they're still pregnant by 41 weeks. They want more women to be induced should their pregnancy reach that point for the safety of their unborn baby. The biggest risk associated is that it reduces the likelihood of a preventable stillbirth from occurring.
This was proven true recently by Swedish researchers studying the effects of having a baby at 41 weeks gestation or later. The study- which had begun late last year- had to stop by October of 2018 despite looking at only a quarter of their target number of 10 000 moms-to-be. That's because it resulted in six babies dying directly due to their research. Five were stillbirths, while the sixth would pass away shortly after being born alive.
"This study adds to the growing body of evidence that induction of labour, at or beyond term gestation, is safer for babies, without increasing caesarean section or other complications for mothers," explained Dr. Sarah Stock, who's an honourary consultant in maternal and foetal medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
But these young deaths didn't happen in vain. Many hospitals across Sweden either plan to or want to change their policies on when to induce labour. This is to keep women over 40 weeks pregnant from going well past their estimated due date without giving birth. At the end of the day, the hope is that no one's unborn baby dies like those in the study did.
"This research is welcome and adds to our knowledge about pregnancies that continue beyond 40 weeks. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to childbirth. Women should be provided with information about the benefits and risks of induction and their decisions respected," said Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser at the National Childbirth Trust. "We have heard of women having the procedure delayed due to their maternity unit’s lack of capacity. This is unacceptable as it leaves pregnant women anxious about the risk of stillbirth."