39 weeks pregnant can be a tough time. You’re so close and yet, you’re not in labor. Perhaps you don’t even have any signs of labor, or worse — you’ve thought you were in labor three separate times now. Forget the physical discomfort and exhaustion — the difficulty now is all mental. Your spouse, your mother, your best friend are all checking in on you, watching you, waiting for you to report any sign, any contractions… anything at all! And as if that isn’t enough, a friend, your sister, even your doctor starts talking about getting induced. You are, after all, at 39 weeks. Why wouldn’t you?
The thought of getting induced near the end of your pregnancy can sound alluring. You get to plan around your baby’s birth day, you can stop wondering if you’ll know when you’re in labor, and you’ll finally be done with being pregnant! But before you jump so quickly on the “getting induced because I can” train, let’s take a look at the odds.
Getting induced nearly DOUBLES your chance of having a cesarean. (Source)
Cesarean surgery (or c-section) significantly raises your and your baby’s risk of complications. See this complete list. Beyond cesarean, different methods and medications used to induce carry additional risks. Unless you are considering induction for a true medical reason, take some time to think about the implications that induction could have for you and your baby. If your care provider is recommending induction, ask about your Bishop score. If you are a first-time mom and your Bishop score is less than 6, your risk of cesarean is the highest at 50%.
Waiting can be really, really hard. And uncomfortable. And long. But waiting until your baby initiates labor has so many benefits (see here, it’s worth 5 minutes of your time). Think of the trade offs. Putting in the hard time now can really pay off in the end.