Here we are..... coming up upon the end of the school year. Since we homeschool, our school year looks different than most people's, and yet we still wrap up this time of the year just like most public schools. It is during this time that some individual subjects are being finished, and for others- the end is in site. Everyone is getting impatient to be done and start a well-deserved break. Many times each day I find myself wanting to tell my boys, "You only have 3 lessons left in this subject, why don't you just do them all and be done?" To be honest, I have said that- not that they have taken me up on that though! LOL!
You see, although it is tempting to hurry things along with school, what would it really accomplish? Rushing through learning just to be done does not mean that the material is truly learned and understood. It takes time and patience to allow information to be permanently placed into anyone's brain. So, why do I feel the need to rush? It doesn't improve my children's education, nor does it make them feel any less stress. It actually can hinder their progress in the long run, and can teach them to just rush through something to be done.
It's always amazing how we seem to do the same thing with birth. We wait so many long months patiently for our little one to be born in their own time. In fact, the average gestation of an infant is similar to the length of a traditional school year! But what happens at the end of that time? We get impatient. We decide that they can be rushed out, and try to start things along. Care providers also add to the notion that we can certainly help mother nature along, and have no consequences from it. But there are, aren't there?
Induction of labor has been known to have several adverse risks including rise in c-section rate, pre-mature birth, low heart rate in baby, infection, umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, and bleeding after delivery (http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/labor-induction/basics/risks/prc-20019032). Sometimes just waiting a few extra days can reduce the chances of these risks occurring. Inducing labor for comfort level of mother or care provider, scheduling concerns, or because of pressure from family and friends can carry a high risk to both the mother and baby.
In a recent ACOG (American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) meeting, the idea that every woman should be medically induced at 39 weeks came up. The idea is, that there are no risks, and only benefits to inducing EVERY woman once she has completed 39 weeks of pregnancy. Their studies show a decrease in larger babies which leads to shoulder dystocia, and a decrease in fetal demise. That all sounds great! Except one thing. In order to have the best outcomes they must have accurate dating on the pregnancy. Ultrasounds are used to achieve this dating, but can be off by at least a week in early pregnancy, and off by up to 21 days in late pregnancy according to the findings of ACOG themselves in October 2014 (http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Method-for-Estimating-Due-Date). That means, even when early ultrasounds occur, a 39 week pregnancy could contain a 38 week baby, which leads to higher complications to both mother and baby.
Babies need a minimum of 39 weeks to develop many things according to the March of Dimes (http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/why-at-least-39-weeks-is-best-for-your-baby.aspx)
More risks associated to the baby in delivering too early include: (https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq181.pdf)
Risks to mother in induction include: (http://www.dona.org/resources/CIMS%20Fact%20Sheet-%20Problems%20and%20Hazards%20of%20Induction%20of%20Labor.pdf)
According to ACOG in March of 2013 "Infants born at 37 to 38 weeks also have a higher mortality rate than those born later." (http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/News-Releases/2013/Early-Deliveries-Without-Medical-Indications) This means if the dating is not done right, or they are off by a week or more, your baby has a higher chance of not surviving. They even recommend women decline these inductions if offered by their care provider.
The thought that all babies will be healthier if delivered at 39 weeks just doesn't hold up when you see what ACOG themselves has published. I encourage all families to do research and make informed decisions based on evidence and clear research rather than on what one person tells you. Here is a well written review of the ACOG Summit outlining each point made in the session. http://www.modernalternativepregnancy.com/2016/05/16/mandatory-induction-39-weeks-acog-gone-far/
It wasn't that long ago in history that doctors would be comfortable waiting until baby made their own way into the world. Then it became- don't go past 42 weeks, and now many dr.s will not "allow" a patient to pass 41 weeks. With the new thought of 39 weeks and you are out, what is next? It won't be long before every woman will either need to have an out-of-hospital birth, or be scheduled for a c-section at 36 weeks. Seem like a stretch? I bet 20 years ago the thought that inducing every woman at 39 weeks looked just like that!