At Poudre Valley Health System, non-medically indicated births, also known as elective inductions or elective c-sections, happen at 39 weeks gestation or later. This allows your baby to grow and mature as long as possible. The March of Dimes encourages moms to wait until labor starts on its own whenever possible. Babies who are born too soon may have health problems at birth and later in life.
Babies need time to grow
Being born at or after 39 weeks means important organs like your baby's brain, lungs and liver have more time to properly develop. The risk of having vision and hearing problems related to prematurity decreases at 39 weeks. Babies are born at a healthier weight have an easier time staying warm than those born too small. Your baby may have an easier time breastfeeding as he'll be able to suck, swallow and stay awake long enough to fill his stomach after birth.
By ensuring your baby is at least 39 0/7 weeks gestation prior to an elective induction or elective c-section, you're lowering your baby's odds of: being admitted to the Neonatal ICU; needing a ventilator to help him breathe; needing an incubator to help regulate his body temperature; having difficulty breastfeeding and bonding.
When labor is induced prior to 39 weeks, your baby is two to three times more likely to spend time in the Neonatal ICU. We've created this elective induction/elective c-section policy in order to give each baby the healthiest start possible.
Determining gestational age
Your due date is based on many factors. Your healthcare provider will determine your estimated due date. Some of the factors include: information about your last menstrual period, results of various lab tests, the size of your baby on ultrasound, or the length of time the provider has been able to hear your babies heart beat.
There may be medical reasons for an induction or c-section prior to 39 weeks gestation. Your healthcare provider will evaluate your situation and use recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the national professional organization for doctors who deliver babies, to make a safe decision about the timing of your delivery.