-- Alan Mozes
TUESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The increasingly
commonplace decision by pregnant women and their doctors to induce
labor for convenience rather than for medical necessity entails
some health risks to both mother and child, research suggests.
The new report, which highlights the negative impact of what is
known as "elective induction" for first-time mothers, indicates
that going that route increases the chances of a Cesarean delivery,
while also boosting the mother's risk for greater loss of blood and
a longer post-delivery hospital stay.
"The benefits of a procedure should always outweigh the risks," study author Dr. Christopher Glantz, professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a university news release. "If there aren't any medical benefits to inducing labor, it is hard to justify doing it electively when we know it increases the risks for the mother and the baby."
Glantz and his colleagues report their findings in the February
issue of the
Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
Elective induction has for the most part become a routine aspect
of obstetric care, researchers noted.
But the authors caution that the decision is not without
consequences, as the process does not unfold in the same manner as
By analyzing the medical charts of 485 women who gave birth to
their first child at the University of Rochester Medical Center in
2007, investigators found that about one-third of those who elected
to have labor induced had to undergo a Cesarean section compared
with just one-fifth of those who were not induced.
C-sections are considered major surgery and carry the risk of
infection, complications and additional surgeries.
What's more, 88 additional in-hospital days are logged for every
100 women who choose to undergo an elective induction vs. women who
go into labor spontaneously, the research team found.
In addition, babies born after induced labor appeared to face a
higher risk for needing oxygen following delivery and special care
in the neonatal intensive care unit.
The study authors noted that women who had previously given
birth might not suffer the same negative consequences.
"If you've delivered once before, your body knows the drill and can do it again," said Glantz.
For more on elective induction, visit the
California Pacific Medical Center.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.