Wait for Labor to Start on its Own

Assumption: Spontaneous labor is better for mother and baby, if no complications are present during pregnancy.

This study of women with low-risk pregnancies and no complications demonstrates that elective induction (inducing labor without medical cause) and elective cesarean surgery (cesarean without medical cause) can lead to more adverse outcomes than waiting for labor to begin on its own.  In the case of induction of women with no prior births, they were 2.7 times more likely to have an unplanned cesarean.  First time moms and those who had given birth before were both more likely to have postpartum complications.  Women who had prior births and chose to have cesarean surgery were more likely to have postpartum complications.  Rates of NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) admission and administration of oxygen for the baby were elevated in women who chose cesarean surgery.


My Views:
I am not surprised by these results.  The timing of labor is set by the baby’s readiness to be born and if the baby has not yet given the “signal” to the hormones that start labor, it makes sense that the baby would need more care and may not always be completely ready for birth.  It also stands to reason that the body would not be at its most efficient if it is not ready to go into labor.  A woman’s body starts preparing for labor some time before the labor actually starts and if it has not had time to go through the changes and preparations needed, labor could reasonably be more difficult and not progress as smoothly.