Ultrasound dating birth
This graphic shows how you would look at the two groups: the elective induction group versus the entire group of people who were not electively induced—some of whom would, in fact, end up being induced later for medical reasons.
Indeed, up to a third of stillbirths among girls born post-term could be due to inaccuracies in these estimates, the researchers conclude. Alkistis Skalkidou of Uppsala Universitet in Uppsala and colleagues explain in the journal Epidemiology, doctors have used second-trimester ultrasound measurements to determine the age of a fetus and estimate when the baby will be born.
The researchers are looking at the benefits and risks of elective induction at 39 weeks—including Cesarean rates, serious infant health problems, hospital costs, and patient satisfaction.
Their goal is to find out if having everyone give birth by 39 weeks results in better birth outcomes than letting people wait for spontaneous labor.
But since only 10% of people go into labor on their own by 39 weeks (Smith 2001; Jukic et al.
2013), what would happen if everyone was electively induced at 39 weeks? What might happen to someone who has a serious medical need for an induction, but can’t get on the schedule because all of the hospital beds are full of people being electively induced at 39 weeks?