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Baby survival rates boosted by inducing labour around due dates

 

A new study suggests that overdue babies are more likely to survive if labour is induced close to their due date, rather than allowing the pregnancy to continue.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh Tommy’s Centre for Reproductive Health looked at survival rates for more than one million births. They found that stillbirths and neonatal deaths occurred in 0.08% of births where the mothers had chosen to have an induction, compared to 0.18% of births when the pregnancy was allowed to continue.

The researchers also found that mothers whose labour was induced at 40 weeks were less likely to need a Caesarean section than those who waited to go into labour.

Although baby survival rates were better when labour was induced, they were slightly more likely to be admitted to neonatal care units.

Dr Sarah Stock, of the Tommy’s Centre for Reproductive Health, stressed that these findings were not a reason for all women to be induced at 40 weeks. She said: “Whilst further studies are needed, our study suggests that the risks for women and their babies of induction at around 40 weeks are less than we thought, and the benefits may be greater.”

“So clinicians should perhaps not be as concerned about agreeing to a request from a pregnant woman to be induced at around 40 weeks of pregnancy. Women who make this request should however be warned of the small increase in the risk of neonatal unit admission associated with induction.”

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

 

Gemma Sharp

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