labor delivery roomWe don't take bread out of the oven before it is ready. Why on Earth do we do it to babies? There are definitely very good reasons some mothers must induce and give birth before it's time -- and in those cases it can save lives. But for all the other times, it can actually put lives at risk. The final weeks of your pregnancy is a critical time for baby's growth.

There are many risks that come with early delivery. A new study has shown that even giving birth a week before baby is considered full-term carries a much greater risk than you may have expected.

Full-term is considered 39 to 41 weeks; early-term 37 to 38 weeks, and preterm is anything before 37 weeks. Many of us get out of that preemie range with a sigh of relief but we still want to keep baby inside until at least 39 weeks and it's due to this alarming statement: Morbidity rates were lowest at week 39 to 40.

More from The Stir: Inducing Labor Could Hurt Your Baby More Than You Know

That's enough of a statement for me to champion waiting and saying no to Pitocin (which could be harmful to your baby). But there's more.

Dr. Shaon Sengupta, MD, MPH, and her team of researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that those early-term babies -- born at 37 to 38 weeks -- had a 64 percent greater chance of being in the NICU, and more than four times the risk of intubation or problem with breathing. Sengupta urges doctors to "recognize early term (37 to 38 weeks) neonates as a higher-risk group." She adds that the risk "is more profound with cesarean section deliveries but exists for vaginal deliveries as well. At this point, it is a matter of targeting elective C-section and induced labor and establishing clear and consistent indications in nonelective cases."

Elective c-sections are thankfully starting to get banned in hospitals across this country, but until they are banned in all, and some doctors stop pushing cesareans on women, our infant mortality rates will be higher than they should be. And for a country that is so advanced, we sure are lacking in the maternal and infant care department.

Are you concerned about your doctor wanting to induce? What do you think of these findings?

 

Image via george ruiz/Flickr