NFL Lockout Makes Pregnant Wife Crazy, Risk Baby's Life

Jeanne Sager

delivery roomThe NFL lockout has produced all sorts of crazy rumors in the past week, but here's a doozy for you. The pregnant wife of an NFL player allegedly decided that it wasn't worth the stress of "will they" or "won't they." So she made her doctors induce labor early so the NFL would have to pay for the delivery.

The details are mighty slim on this one -- it all comes off a tweet by ESPN's Adam Schefter:

A different kind of labor: Wife of NFL player had labor induced last week so NFL team footed the bill, not the family through COBRA.

But let's just suppose this one is true. Is she nuts? She played around with the health of her newborn baby just to give the NFL the finger? 

As Schefter correctly points out, when employer-provided health insurance disappears, COBRA continuation health coverage steps in. It's expensive; you're paying the entire premium now -- whatever you kicked in from your salary before plus your employer's previous contribution. So it's not an option for everyone. Last year a fired teacher was forced to induce early because she couldn't AFFORD COBRA, and I understood how scared she must have been.

But her husband plays for the NFL, where they have something called a "league minimum salary." The last figure I could find for that was 2007 -- when the league minimum was $285,000. Trust me, he can afford COBRA.

Which brings me back to my question. Is she playing with her baby's life just to stick it to the NFL?

My labor was induced well over a week late and due to complications, and it was not a fun experience. The use of pitocin to induce contractions makes those contractions exceedingly painful (I've only ever been induced but I've been told often that they're more painful than old-fashioned, baby wants to come contractions). Researchers have found a risk of 1 to 2 cesareans per 25 inductions (frankly, that was my number one fear going into the hospital on the day my daughter was born).

And those are just the problems with a medically-advised induction. Some states are debating outlawing early elective inductions because of the mounting scientific evidence that they can be harmful to the baby. Inductions at 37 weeks have been linked to babies with higher rates of respiratory problems, pulmonary hypertension, and admissions to neonatal intensive care units than those born at 39 weeks or later.

What do you think of this case? Was she right to do what she did?


Image via footlooseity/Flickr

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