We know you can’t wait to meet your baby face to face. But getting to at least 39 weeks gives your baby the time he or she needs to grow. Lots of important things happen to your baby during the last few weeks of pregnancy. For example, your baby's brain and lungs are still developing.
You may not have a choice about when to have your baby. If there are problems with your pregnancy or your baby's health, you may need to have your baby early. But if you have a choice and you're planning to schedule your baby's birth, wait until at least 39 weeks.
Why should I wait until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver?
Babies born at or after 39 weeks of pregnancy face fewer health problems
Babies' brains, lungs, and liver continue important development between 37 and 39 weeks of pregnancy
What are the risks to my baby and to me if I deliver without a medical reason before 39 weeks of pregnancy?
Baby may need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
Birth complications, including breathing problems and cerebral palsy
A 63% greater chance of death within the first year of life compared to babies born between 39 weeks and 41 weeks(2)
Risks to the mother:
Stronger and more frequent contractions(4)
Need for a cesarean delivery and its outcomes, including risk of infection, longer recovery time, and the possible need for cesarean delivery in future pregnancies(5)
What questions should I as my health care provider?
Are there any medical reasons that I might need induced labor before 39 weeks?
What are the potential complications for my baby with elective induction?
What are the potential complications for my own health?
How can I you tell when my body is ready for labor?
Source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2015). Press Release: U.S. stillbirth rates unchanged after move to discourage elective deliveries before 39 weeks. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/110915-stillbirth-rates-unchanged.aspx.
leischman, A.R., Otnuma, M., & Clark, S.L. (2010). Rethinking the Definition of "Term Pregnancy." Obstetrics & Gynecology, 116(1), 136–139. Retrieved November 8, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20567179.
Koroukian, S.M. (2004). Relative risk of postpartum complications in the Ohio Medicaid population: Vaginal versus cesarean delivery. Medical Care Research and Review, 61(2), 203–224. Retrieved November 8, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15155052.
March of Dimes. (2012). Why at least 39 weeks is best for your baby. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/getready_atleast39weeks.html. xternal Web Site Policy
March of Dimes. (2012). Why at least 39 weeks is best for your baby. Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/getready_atleast39weeks.html. External Web Site Polic