Massachusetts General Hospital

Helping nature: Inducing labor avoids cesarean for some moms

Move over, Mother Nature. First-time moms at low risk of complications were less likely to need a cesarean delivery if labor was induced at 39 weeks instead of waiting for it to start on its own, a big study found. Their babies fared better, too.

The results overturn the longtime view that inducing labor raises the risk for a C-section, and prompted two leading OB-GYN doctor groups to say it's now reasonable to offer women like those in the study that option.

But only certain pregnant women qualify, and the study did not track how inducing labor affected breastfeeding or other mom-baby issues later. Some groups such as Lamaze International still advocate letting nature...

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