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Healthy first-time mothers whose labor was induced in the 39th week of pregnancy were less likely to have a cesarean delivery, compared to a similar group who were not electively induced at 39 weeks, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Women in the induced group were also less likely to experience pregnancy-related blood pressure disorders, such as preeclampsia, and their infants were less likely to need help breathing in the first 3 days.
The study results will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Dallas on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. EST.
More than 6,100 first-time mothers in the NICHD Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network were randomly assigned to induced labor or to expectant management. Cesarean delivery was less frequent in the induced labor group (19 percent) versus the expectant management group (22 percent). Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension occurred in 9 percent of the induced group and 14 percent of the expectant management group. Among newborns, 3 percent in the induced group needed respiratory support, compared to 4 percent in the expectant management group.
Grobman, W. LBO1: A randomized trial of elective induction of labor at 39 weeks compared with expectant management of low-risk nulliparous women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. January 2018.