Oh, to live in a world where we could control every variable to our liking! From choosing our future child's gender to cherry-picking his or her genetic makeup, the idea of deciding so much of our lives seems a bit more science fiction than reality. That is, except where the actual delivery is concerned.
For decades, women and their doctors have been deciding when to birth their babies. Whether to fit within a busy schedule, stave off extra weight gain or escape the last treacherous weeks of pregnancy, women have opted for scheduled childbirth. In 2004, the rate of scheduled early deliveries was at an all-time high. But now, research is showing that all of this planning comes at a cost.
The risks of early delivery
What's "early" anyway? Anytime a baby is born before 39 weeks, it's considered an early delivery. Once touted by the medical community as perfectly safe, birthing a baby before he or she hits 39 weeks is now sparking some controversy. The last weeks of gestation have proven critically important to baby's development. Babies who arrive before they're ready are at risk for breathing issues due to underdeveloped lungs, feeding problems, low body temperature, life-threatening infections and more.
When it's medically necessary
Planning your little one's arrival before he or she is due isn't a smart move – unless you have a medical issue that necessitates it. Here are just some of the reasons your doctor may suggest inducing labor before 39 weeks:
- If baby has stopped growing in utero
- If your water breaks prematurely
- If you have high blood pressure
- If you have preeclampsia
- If you have diabetes
In each of the situations above, the safety and health benefits to your little one far outweigh the risks of inducing early.
So what do you think? Up until now, what have you thought about early deliveries? Have you changed your mind? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.