In honor of Mother’s Day, we’d like to offer expectant moms one more tool to help promote a healthy pregnancy. Here’s a quick introduction to elective deliveries. Find out why the latest research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes all suggest that women wait until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver unless medically necessary.
What is the safest point in my pregnancy for my baby to be born?
The baby’s brain, liver, and lungs continue important development in the womb until 39 weeks. Unless health risks to the mother or baby require earlier delivery, it is best to wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver and, if possible, to let labor begin on its own. This extra time improves outcomes for mother and baby.
What to ask your health provider before you decide to deliver before 39 weeks of pregnancy:
• Are there any medical indications that suggest I should induce labor early?
• What are the potential complications of elective early delivery for my baby?
• What are the potential complications for my own health?
• How do you tell when my body is ready for labor?
• How might inducing labor affect my future pregnancies?
Just a couple weeks can make a big difference for your health and the health of your baby. As you approach the last few months of your pregnancy (or if you’re already there), keep the questions above in mind as you talk to your doctor or midwife about your delivery options. Write them down. Print them out. And watch this video from the NIH on why waiting just a few extra weeks to deliver can be critical for you and your baby.