Know Someone Who’s Pregnant? Share This.

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Know Someone Who’s Pregnant? Share This.


Within the past couple years, a number of maternal-infant health organizations have launched campaigns to educate the public about the benefits of waiting for labor to begin on its own: that is, waiting for it to begin without a non-medically indicated induction or cesarean section.

Childbirth Connection, for instance, developed a comprehensive resource on induction of labor, giving women tools to help decipher the evidence on induction.

Last year, The Leapfrog Group released a report documenting individual hospital rates of early scheduled births (i.e. births schedule for induction or cesarean section prior to 39 weeks).

And last but not least, The March of Dimes has worked tirelessly to educate people about preventing preterm birth–including late preterm birth, a complication that can be the result of a scheduled induction or cesarean section that occurred before a baby was truly ready to be born.

Long story short?  Unless there are medical issues that warrant and induction or cesarean section, waiting for labor to begin on its own can have tremendous benefits for moms and babies.

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) knows this just as much as anyone else, and they also have a fabulous campaign encouraging parents to “go the full 40“–as in the full 40 weeks of a pregnancy–for their babies.  They even have a list of 40 reasons to go the full 40, including (but not limited to) the facts that:

  • there are fewer risks and complications when labor begins on its own
  • women tend to have faster recovery following a vaginal birth
  • babies are better able to regulate their temperature when they are born at term
  • babies are less likely to experience jaundice, low blood sugar, and infection when they are full term

AWHONN  even appreciates the fact that waiting the full 40 gives pregnant women a chance to enjoy those stretchy clothes a bit longer!  (Oh, how I miss my maternity jeans!)

Just yesterday, AWHONN shared an especially fabulous image on Facebook to promote a similar campaign that encourages women to wait for labor to begin on its own:

You can share this image too, sign the pledge, and let the world know how important it is to wait the for labor to begin on its own.

You just might help to do another mama and baby a whole lot of good.

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  1. Anna

    This is really interesting to me. I’m tentatively planning to start trying for a baby sometime next year, but I have a high BMI (though I’d argue that holistically I’m much much healthier than I was when my BMI was ‘normal’!) I’m in Canada, so my choice of practitioners will be limited by the provincial healthcare limitations, and I’m concerned about stats that say overweight women rarely go into spontaneous labour (so obs are more likely to want to insist on induction or scheduled cesarean). Can you offer any suggestions, both for more background on those stats and, if they’re overblown, how to argue that? Women in my family do tend to go the full 40 unless inducted, so I’m sure it will be a battle either way to insist on letting my body do its thing, to the extent that it’s safe to do that.

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      There are certainly “fat biases” among SOME OB/GYNs. The Well-Rounded Mama ( speak much better to the research than I can. Her site has many invaluable resources on plus-size pregnancy, the evidence that relates to it, and the biases that can infect some maternity care. Highly recommend it!

  2. From the editor’s desk: Premature births
    From the editor’s desk: Premature births11-12-2012

    […] emphasizes the health benefits of avoiding elective delivery before 39 weeks. This great post at Birthing Beautiful Ideas lists more efforts to encourage parents and healthcare providers to  allow labor to begin in its […]

  3. psychsarah

    Anna-I don’t know where in Canada you are, but I’m in Ontario, and my midwives were pubilcly funded and fantastic. I too have a high BMI, but am healthy and fit. They supported me to go past my due date, as I didn’t want induction for the many reasons listed in the resources Kristin noted above. They even armed me with data to take to the required OB consult I had to attend following the nonstress test at 41 weeks, as I was determined to go into labour spontaneously as long as my baby was healthy. After the non-stress test showed that everything was fine with my son, I told the OB I was not interested in induction. She was not pleased with me, but thankfully I had the midwives’ support, and the back-up of my spouse and family. 12 days after the due date, I went into labour spontaneously, gave birth at home in 5 hours, and my son was healthy and happy. It can be done, and as data shows, it should be done!

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