When Unneeded, Induced Labor May Increase
FRIDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Inducing labor when it's not
necessary increases the risk of cesarean section delivery and other
childbirth complications, a new study says.
The Australian researchers noted that induced labor is common
and increasing in many countries. In many cases, labor is induced
for "social" and other "non-recognized" reasons, they added.
For the study, the investigators analyzed data from more than
28,000 women with spontaneous onset of labor, induction of labor
for known medical reasons, and induction of labor for
Compared with spontaneous labor, inducing labor for
non-recognized reasons was associated with a 67 percent increased
risk of cesarean section delivery, a 64 percent increased risk that
an infant would require care in the neonatal intensive care unit
(NICU), and a 44 percent increased risk that an infant would
require treatment in the NICU.
The researchers also found that mothers who gave birth at or
after 41 weeks' gestation had the lowest likelihood of requiring
epidural or spinal analgesia for pain relief. Those who gave birth
after 37 weeks had the lowest risk of severely tearing the perineum
during childbirth, they said, and those who gave birth after 38
weeks had the lowest risk of labor complications.
Overall, the lowest risk of mother and infant complications
occurred with birth between 38 and 39 weeks and with the
spontaneous onset of labor.
The study was published in the February issue of the journal
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
"Our research relates to the optimal timing and management of labor and birth at term for women with an uncomplicated pregnancy," study leader Rosalie Grivell, of the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute, said in a journal news release. "We hope our findings will increase awareness of potential complications related to the common use of induction of labor in situations where there is no serious maternal or fetal problem."
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more
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