By the time the ninth month rolls around, most pregnant women are counting the minutes to the due date.
The result: according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, there has been a steady rise in so-called elective birth inductions.
Turns out twenty-five percent of births now are scheduled through elective inductions, compared to less than ten percent in the 1990s, the Journal reports.
But now experts are discovering that these accelerated births could have harmful short- and long-term health risks, including vision and hearing problems, as well as "respiratory distress, seizures and bloodstream infections." And, the Journal reports, they say that if a pregnancy is progressing smoothly, the baby should not be induced before 39 weeks.
Circle of Moms community members have been weighing in on the issue in the Debating Mums community.
Katherine C. believes that women who push their doctors for early deliveries after the 37th week “are creating a nation of babies with higher rates of respiratory problems, pulmonary hypertension, and admissions to neonatal intensive care units than those born at 39 weeks or later.”
“I wanted my daughter out a heck of a lot sooner than it happened, but I gave up that choice when I decided to get pregnant,” she says. ”I was well aware that I was born 10 days late, my brother five days late. Women in my family miss their due dates. It's healthy and normal, and what I wanted most was a healthy and normal baby. In the end, it took an extra week of baking in my oven to get her there. Inductions aren't about you, Mom. They're about the baby, and if you can't see that, it looks like the government has to make you grow up.”
Melissa C. says she doesn’t understand the rush to induce and has no sympathy for pregnant women who say they are tired of being pregnant.
“There are a couple friends around me that are pregnant as well and just about due,” says Melissa. “Two already have a child that is about three-to-four-years-old. Yet all I hear from them is ‘I hope they'll induce me early.’ They are so set on having the child earlier than needed that they've gone to the hospital, supposedly in labor, 4 to 6 times already.”
Melissa adds: “It annoys me that they're so caught up in themselves and with being done with the pregnancy that they're not concerned about their soon-to-be child's welfare. I believe as long the mother is healthy and the baby is healthy that the baby needs to stay in there as long it sees fit.”
The Wall Street Journal claims that the primary reason moms-to-be and their docs want to tinker with nature is convenience. The earlier dates fit better into the schedules of the obstetrician, pregnant mom, or family.
Public health officials, safety advocates, private insurers, and employer groups are stepping up pressure to sharply reduce early term deliveries, according to the article. The practice drives up costs of neonatal intensive care and leads to a higher rate of caesarean sections. Reducing the number of these early deliveries to 1.7 percent could save close to $1 billion annually. So great is the potential upside that some hospitals are creating new policies to prohibit doctors from scheduling deliveries before 39 weeks if there is not a valid medical reason.
No matter what the medical community decides, babies often have their own timing, says Rebekah G. As she puts it: “Unless there is a medical explanation for an induction, I’d try to completely avoid it. Healthy babies will come when they are ready. Hang in there and let your body do what it was designed to do."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.