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what's with this trend of starting labor < 40 weeks?

post #1 of 110
Thread Starter 
my own OB told me he prefers to deliver babies at 36 or 37 weeks because then they aren't "too big" ~ because according to him, any babies closer to 40 weeks come out and are like "shoving a huge table through a small doorway." personally i think that's BS, and that babies come when they are ready, be it at 37 weeks (like my first), or 42, and that in almost all cases, a mama can birth whatever baby she can grow.

i was just reading through another forum for pregnant mamas (one that's a bit more mainstream) and nearly everyone there are talking about how their doctors are pushing them to have the babies, and they're all around 37 weeks! a few are actually scheduled for induction at 38 weeks, simply because "it's time." one woman's doctor told her that if she went to 40 weeks, she'll "need" a c-section, because "that's just too long to keep a baby in there."

is this some new obstetrical trend?

what's going on??
post #2 of 110
I have no answer for you. I'm just shuddering at the horror of it!

I have absolutely no doubt that my nearly 42 weeker would certainly not have been ready to greet the world at 37 weeks.
post #3 of 110
I haven't dealt with that. My OB is comfortable with letting me go past my due date up to 42/43 weeks, then we'll talk about delivering. It was one of the first things I asked her.
post #4 of 110
DH's SIL just called tonight to say she is being induced tomorrow (37 weeks) due to how "big" the baby is at about 7lbs...she has said all along she plans on having a "natural, drug free birth" when I said something like she must be disappointed about not having a natural birth she said that pitocin "didn't count" because it wasn't a pain medication...hopefully everything will go brilliantly tomorrow but I have bet with DH that she winds up with a c/s....my theory on Docs wanting to induce so soon is that they can plan around any golf games/vacations and they don't have to catch/lift something *so* heavy and more $$$$ for the hospital if the baby/momma has to stay longer and especially big $$$$$ for the hospital if the NICU is required. I'm sure some docs get a commision or bonus for earning extra $$$$ for the hospital...rolling my eyes....

So sad!

Cool Breezes,

post #5 of 110
The mothers and the babies pay the high price for this trend.
post #6 of 110
Hmm. I've said this at least 1/2 a dozen times in various forms, but... I recently had a 9+ lb VBAC at not quite 42 wks. No, it wasn't hard to push him out (dh and I are tall, and frankly, I'd be surprised if we had "short" or "small" babies). And "late" babies seem to be more mature and easier to take care of...
post #7 of 110
Ya know I've notice this too and think it is awful sad. My cousin was all set to have natural birth and the doc told her that her baby was too big and she'd have to have a c-sec. and she went for the c-sec he was only 9 lbs 1 oz
post #8 of 110
That is shocking. We don't have that problem here in the UK because of the NHS. In fact our local hospital trust changed the rules this year so that you can go 12 days overdue rather than 10 before they want to induce you. They are very keen to lower the C-section rate (due to phenomenal cost as well as Mum/baby welfare) although the practical realities of doing that are more complex.

I was found to be having a big baby (9 llbs 1oz) and although I am quite short they were happy for me to go into labour naturally and have a natural birth. Unfortunately my stupid uterus didn't know how to do it's job properly (I never got past 4 cms) and ended up with a C-section but it was nothing to do with the size of my baby.

The maternity services in the US is really in a shocking state if this is the kind of route they are taking there.

Seems like a lot of the recommendations are all about the Dr's convenience (and pocket?) and little to do with what is best for Mum and baby.
post #9 of 110
Ds no 6 was 37 weeks 5 days and had a cry like a preemie.he came early and unexpectedly.I was only in labor a couple of hours.I can't imagine wanting a baby to come early like that : I sure whish 20/20 or 60 min.would do a major expose` of u.s. obstetric practices and how they don't mesh with who recommendations.If mainstream mamma's saw something like that maybe they'd wake up and make more of an effort to educate themselves and question their docs
post #10 of 110
Convenience and a failure to practice evidence-based care.

post #11 of 110
This really pisses me off. I am absolutely agast at so many ob/gyns cavalier attitude toward the possibility of a PREMATURE baby. WTF? As someone who spent 11 weeks in NICU I am flabbergasted as to why anyone would induce < 40 weeks without a darn good medical reason. Such a gamble. I am also stunned that they do not expalin the RISKS of induction/early delivery to the parents. Like it's no problem everythings fine and dandy. My sister just was induced at 41 weeks (no medical reason, ended up with a c/s) and the attitude was ho-hum and she wasn't even informed of the risks AT ALL. THAT is unethical. I just can't believe they not only don't inform... but they LIE! She was told their are no risks. : :

It astounds me. I miss lots of things from home... but, this crap I don't miss and I am glad I don't have to deal with it. Switzerland is bloody mecca compared to the US and we aren't even so hot compared to other countries.

I'll shut up now. I can feel my blood pressure rising...

post #12 of 110
Originally Posted by applejuice
The mothers and the babies pay the high price for this trend.

I want to go around putting "Caution" signs on certain doctors' offices! (Not yours, doctorjen! )

I just feel that there are a small number of medically warranted inductions, and a huge and growing number of unwarranted & infuriating ones! Why can't more doctors just leave well enough alone & trust the natural process of labor?! I just want to cry...

Also worth adding that the 'ability' of our bodies to birth 'large' babies is tied to our being free to labor/move/push etc as we intuitively need. It's probably true that many women will have difficulty pushing out any size baby on her back, numbed, feeling scared, etc.

There would need to be so many changes to create a peaceful, private, upright, emotionally safe, suportive (Clock free!) environment in hospitals - where most families currently chose to birth.

So much of this would need to change to make more of the full term births go well and discredit the notion of women not being able to birth a baby bigger than 7 pounds. Where's my :big-sigh smilie?

post #13 of 110
Wow. I had not even heard of this trend. Scary stuff.

I had an induced labor with ds at 38 because of preeclampsia, and I would certainly never choose to have another induction. Ds weighed 7 lbs, 1 oz, and I can't help but wonder if our breastfeeding problems would have happened had he been a bigger, more mature baby.

This baby and I have an understanding - she is going to stay inside and grow to be the biggest baby she can be! We'll make our "outside world" introductions as close to her due date as we can manage.
post #14 of 110
This happened to me too.

First with my twins I was told I needed an emergency c-section at 36.5 wks. I asked about the babies lungs, would they by developed? Doc said yes, no worries. Fast forward to reading my records in prep for son's birth. The doc wrote that she had warned me of danger of having babies with underdeveloped lungs, the possibility of a stay in NICU, etc. Um, no she didn't! Quite the opposite. There are many other reasons I know that the c-sec was done for convienience but it's OT.

Then I was seeing an OB for my son. He was very encouraging about VBAC, I have a great scar, etc. Over the next 5 months I would ask questions. He told me I would not be permitted to go past 38 weeks. At that point I would be induced. I told him induction was rather dangerous for a VBAC, right?
Needless to say, I changed providers to a wonderful midwife and had a lovely home waterbirth at almost 42 weeks. 8lbs. 14ozs. No signs of being overdue.

My MIL is an RN and she says that without a doubt docs induce and or do c-secs to go on vac, make appts, watch football games. She says it happens all the time.
post #15 of 110
There is a fairly large practice in my city that is routinely inducing women at 39 weeks.

It's all about perceived "risk" and complete management and control over the labors.

Why aren't women more outraged?

All this adds to the increase in stories where women say, "I [or my baby] would have DIED if we had a homebirth!"

post #16 of 110
my own OB told me he prefers to deliver babies at 36 or 37 weeks because then they aren't "too big" ~ because according to him, any babies closer to 40 weeks come out and are like "shoving a huge table through a small doorway."
Typical scare tactics, IMO
Doctors know their services are totally not needed for most pregnant/laboring women, so they have to plant doubts in our minds when it comes to trusting our bodies to do what they were designed to do. That, and most of them really do seem to believe we need them in order to give birth, that there is some sort of inherent flaw in human women's bodies that makes it impossible for us to give birth without their help.

Oh my, imagine what would happen if women actually started believing in their bodies to give birth without modern medical techniques! :
post #17 of 110
Let me just say thanks for bringing up this topic- I have seen this trend for a long time and whenever I said anything to anyone, they would look at me like I had 2 heads. Most women these days are so afraid of their bodies and don't trust in their natural instincts that they seem to prefer a total stranger (or even not so total) to take control for them.

I don't understand how a baby can get "too big" for a mother that they need to induce. What is going to happen? Is the baby going to stay in there for a few years and set up camp or something? Maybe if they spent more time encouraging mom to have faith in her body and instincts or even try helping mom to deal with any deep seated issues about the birth, we wouldn't have this problem, and we might have a few more empowered moms.
post #18 of 110
I've actually heard providers tell women that babies gain a pound a week that last month. Can you imagine? Whoa!

Really, it's more like a quarter pound - and just how is two weeks going to make your baby unbirthable?

I get so annoyed by this. Thank goodness for MDC. I feel bad for many of the women at americanbaby.com or babycenter.com!
post #19 of 110
I saw Penny Simkin give a wonderful talk on this, called "The Seduction of Induction". She painted OBs as people who prey on the fragile emotions of very pregnant moms. See, they see them all pregnancy long, always hoping for some kind of connection (all women want that, right?). Then, towards the end, kind Doc, who has never given the woman more than 8 minutes of his time says,
"Geez, I really want to be at your birth! I'm going to be off call/ on vacation soon and I just don't wanna miss it. If we induce next week, then I can be there and you'll have the birth you want."

Now, if you've ever been pregnant, you know how vulnerable you can be at the end. And, of course all of the horrors of the "big" baby, etc.... are there too. UGH!

You can check out the power point presentation of this talk at her website
www.pennysimkin.com- interesting stuff.

Thank goodness there are enough women who have the sense to say no.... but I do shudder when I think about all of the women in my community who are succumbing to the OBs desire to put predictability in birth.
post #20 of 110
Originally Posted by klothos
my own OB told me he prefers to deliver babies at 36 or 37 weeks because then they aren't "too big" ~ because according to him, any babies closer to 40 weeks come out and are like "shoving a huge table through a small doorway."
Remember the old Monty Python movie with the charge on the castle? "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!" Seriously, any OB who says this is an idiot.

There is a trend in OB that they believe that smaller babies are easier to deliver, mostly b/c it *is* harder to get a baby out (esp. a first time mom) that is a good size WITH AN EPIDURAL, propped on your back, legs in stirups. And since that is all most OB's see, they believe it to be reality.

Originally Posted by pamamidwife
I've actually heard providers tell women that babies gain a pound a week that last month. Can you imagine? Whoa!
Yup, hear that one all the time.
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