Dr. Lockwood was the senior author of a study conducted by The University of Florida that found inducing women at 39 weeks, which is one week before the traditional 40-week due date, may reduce complications and prevent death. Dr. Lockwood acknowledges that the women in their study were first-time mothers with uncomplicated, normal pregnancies. With this group, they found inducing at 39 weeks as compared to expected management where women are normally followed over the next few weeks and induced by week 42, had a dramatic effect on reducing cesarean delivery rates and reducing fetal death rates, neonatal infant and maternal mortality and morbidity.
Dr. Clayton takes an opposing view believing it is best to not interfere with the woman’s cycle and allow her to naturally go into labor. He says that when we induce, it robs women of the hormones and neurotransmitters that are released upon labor, which takes away emotion and feeling, turning them into robots. “We want to preserve what’s human about all of us.”
The Doctors tackle the larger issue at hand, why are the rates of maternal death and stillbirth so bad in this country? Dr. Clayton says while it is largely unknown, obesity is a major factor. Obese women don’t tend to fair as well and often have underlying health issues that affect the pregnancy.
He believes that stress may also be a reason for this since it negatively affects the body. Hearing all this, ER physician Dr. Travis Stork has come around from believing women shouldn’t be induced to thinking “for high-risk pregnancies because you’re obese as the mother so that’s high risk for the baby, maybe it does make sense to have the baby come out a week early.”
There doesn’t seem to be a right answer but rather it’s an individual choice and women need to make an informed choice with their obstetrician.