While the final weeks of pregnancy can be the most challenging and uncomfortable of the 40-week journey, they are some of the most beneficial for a baby's development.
According to research from the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, a full 40 weeks of pregnancy provides many benefits for mom and baby before, during and after labor."We strongly recommend that women with healthy pregnancies wait for labor to begin and progress on its own, rather than schedule an induction," explains Dr. Karen Kobayashi, OBGYN and Women's and Infants' Services Department Chair at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.
5 benefits of a full-term, 40-week pregnancy for mom and baby
- Better development of baby's brain and lungs.
Babies born before 37 weeks gestation are at higher risk of breathing problems, as well as low blood sugar and jaundice.
- Reduced bleeding risk for mom.
Inducing labor increases the risk that the uterus will not properly contract after birth, which can lead to greater blood loss.
- Shorter recovery time.
Waiting for the cervix to open naturally reduces the risk of infection or adverse reaction to medication, which can slow recovery time.
- Lower risk of C-section.
While inducing labor very often leads to a successful vaginal delivery, if labor does not progress sufficiently, a cesarean section may be required to protect the health of the baby.
- Better chance at breastfeeding success.
Full-term babies are more alert and ready to breastfeed.
"When we wait to begin labor until 40 weeks gestation is achieved, we improve outcomes for both mom and baby," says Dr. Kobayashi. "We recommend a full 40 weeks of pregnancy for baby to grow and develop, and he or she will let you know when they're ready to emerge and meet you."
For the news media: To talk with Dr. Kobayashi about the benefits of a full-term pregnancy for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.