Harvard Women's Health Watch

Should my daughter have her labor induced?

Ask the doctors

labor induced baby pregnancy due date
Image: Thinglass/Thinkstock

Q. My daughter is 38 years old and pregnant with her first child. Her due date is in two weeks, and her doctor has recommended that she have labor induced a week early. Why can't she just allow nature to take its course?

A. Having a baby when you're "older" can have some advantages—women may feel more secure with them-selves, their relationships, or their careers. However, expectant moms 35 or older—and their babies—have some increased pregnancy-related risks.

Probably the most dreaded is a stillbirth. Most often, the factors responsible for stillbirth—notably problems with the placenta—occur before labor, and women over 35 face increased risk for such complications. While there is no conclusive proof that inducing labor a little early prevents stillbirth, we worry so much about this potential loss that we want to do what we reasonably can to prevent it.

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