Early Induction: Why all the Hype?

The term “early induction” has been tossed around the Internet a lot lately– it has even shown up on mainstream media outlets like Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. What are they saying and what does it mean for pregnant women? Below are some basic points with links to more in-depth information from credible resources.

How early is an early induction?

An “early induction” is any induction that is performed before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Experts from several recognized organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Childbirth Connection and March of Dimes, state that a baby needs at least 39 completed weeks in order to fully develop their brain and other vital organs.

What are the risks of early induction?

Induction in and of itself carries risks to mom and baby. Because induction is an artificial process for starting labor, your body may not be ready to follow its cues. As a result, inductions can cause a cascade of additional medical processes (interventions) to keep labor going, which can ultimately lead to an increased risk for cesarean surgery. Unless there is clear medical indication (see below), letting labor begin on its own is the safest decision.

Induction before 39 weeks brings an additional risk of prematurity. Babies born even a little too early can experience complications like problems with breathing, feeding, maintaining body temperature and jaundice. In most cases, babies know best when it comes to being born.

What if I need to be induced?

There are solid medical reasons for induction before 39 weeks. Being done with being pregnant, isn’t one of them. ;) There are also several reasons given for induction that are not true medical reasons. It’s important to know the difference. Click through and read up on the two links provided above on the new induction resource page on Childbirth Connection, a not-for-profit organization founded that works to improve the quality of maternity care.

If you’re pregnant and faced with the decision to induce — and even if you’re not — read up! Inform yourself. Learn all that you can, from sources in addition to your care provider and other than well-meaning family and friends. Start here:

Avatar of Cara TerreriAbout Cara Terreri
Cara began working with Lamaze in 2004, two years before becoming a mother. Three kids later, she's a full-fledged healthy birth advocate and the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence. Most recently Cara began study to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and DONA certified doula (learn more about her services at www.SimpleSupportBirth.com). She continues to stand in awe of the power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and enjoys helping women discover their own power and joy in the journey to motherhood.


  1. mamapoekie says:

    Great ressource! Adding to Sunday Surf! Thanks a lot, this needs to be said over and over until everyone heard it!


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  2. [...] Early Induction: Why All the Hype? at Giving Birth with Confidence [...]

  3. [...] the brain, lungs and liver, are still developing, as well as functions like sucking and swallowing. Interrupting these processes by scheduling an induction — unless there is true medical reason — can deprive baby of the time [...]

  4. [...]  ’Early induction’ is inducing pregnancy before 39 weeks of pregnancy.  There are high risks to both the mother and child for inducing early.  The pregnant inmate is seven months [...]

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