PodMed TT – Induced Labor at 39 Weeks May Reduce C-Section Rates in Healthy First-Time Mothers

If you’re a woman about to give birth for the first time—so-called “nulliparous” in medical jargon—is it better to induce labor at 39 weeks or simply wait and see if you go into labor spontaneously at or before 42 weeks? Sounds like induction at 39 weeks is the same as waiting with regard to many outcomes for both mother and baby, as Rick and I observe on PodMed TT this week, with one benefit being a reduced rate of cesarean section among those induced earlier.

That’s according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, where just over 3,000 women comprised each group. All were considered low risk, with a couple of caveats Rick points out: they were relatively young, and of ethnic groups that may not be representative of the U.S. population at large. Even so, attempting to assess this issue is important for at least two reasons. We know the rate of C-section is unacceptably high, and previous research establishes that there are risks for both mother and infant as pregnancy surpasses the 42-week mark. We look forward to more studies of this population that historically has been drastically underrepresented.

Other topics this week include screening young athletes for cardiac issues in NEJM, adolescent exposure to cigarette smoke in Pediatrics, and the best medicine for ADHD in The Lancet.

Until next week, y’all listen up and make healthy choices.