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Inducing Labor At 38 Weeks – Risks And Possibilities


The last few weeks that a baby spends in your womb are considered to be highly important as it is during this time that the final dose of antibodies is passed to the child. As you near the end of your pregnancy, your hormones start giving you an extra kick and you start getting more uncomfortable. It is at this time that you just cannot wait to give birth to the baby so that your body can finally get some peace. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Depending on the position of the baby and whether it is ready to be born yet, your due date may even extend a few weeks further.

During this time, many women think of taking up labor induction as a possibility to give birth earlier. Though inducing labor at 38 weeks may not have much of an impact on the baby as it is now fully formed and is ready to pop out at any moment, it may have a lasting impact on you. The process can be quite painful and sometimes it may not work, which can then lead to an emergency C-section.

Usually, doctors recommend inducing labor when you hit 38 weeks or after because at that time, the baby’s lungs are fully formed and it will be able to breathe on its own. The rest of the baby is fully developed as well, so there is no danger of the baby facing health issues that it may face if born too early.

To give you a brief rundown of what labor induction is, it is bypassing the natural process of labor and bringing about labor via artificial methods so that the baby can be born earlier. The primary reason that induction is looked down upon is that it does not allow the body to undergo the natural process. Hence, the baby is not quite ready to be born.

How Induction Hinders The Birthing Process


When your child is ready to be born, signals are sent to the brain from the baby and the brain sends signals to your entire body to prepare for the process. The baby starts to shift into position, your cervix begins to thin and open up, and various hormones are released that allow the body to start making the required changes. However, when labour is induced, the body and baby are not given a chance to undergo all these changes. Hence, it makes the process longer and more excruciating.

Induction at 38 weeks means that your body will need to undergo the entire birthing process when it is not ready and at a faster pace, due to this, the contractions are stronger and faster, which can be troublesome to your child and your health. The doctors will continually monitor you and your baby, and you will be given IVs till the entire process is over.

What Can Go Wrong?

Your Cervix is Not Dilated Enough

It is highly likely that when you have been induced, your cervix does not dilate and open up in time when the baby is ready to come out. This can lead to an emergency C-section as the baby’s heart rate can drop and pose to be life-threatening to both you and the child.

Various Methods May Need to be Used

Though the most common method of induction is via the use of IVs, there are other types of inductions as well. These types are more natural but may not be as effective. If you are lucky, one of them just might work for you. You may find these methods to be more painful, but they do not require the use of medicines to help induce labour.

You May Get Exhausted

As the contractions are stronger since your body is not naturally ready for the birthing process, it is highly likely that you may get exhausted in the middle of the birth. The doctor will then resort to artificial ways to help you give birth or even take you for a C-section.

The reason for inducing labour does not necessarily have to be the fact that you are tired of being pregnant and need to give birth so that you can rest your body. There are also other reasons that you may need to be induced.

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Reasons For Labour Induction

Risk of Having a Big Baby

The main reason for a woman to have a big baby is that she may have diabetes. Though ultrasounds are never 100% accurate when it comes to measuring a child’s weight and size, they still give a fair idea about the baby. To help avoid complications and the baby growing further, doctors tend to induce labour in diabetic women so that the child can be born with secondary complications.

Ruptured Membranes

Ruptured membranes can mean a higher risk of an infection spreading, and infections can be highly dangerous to pregnant women. It is due to this reason that labour gets induced in women whose membranes get ruptured.


Inside the amniotic sac, the baby’s urine becomes a part of the fluid after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The level of the fluid is maintained according to the intake of the mother and the baby. There are cases when the amniotic fluid is quite low, which can cause problems for the baby along with restricting its moving space, it is due to this reason that the doctor may consider induction since lesser fluid may cause trouble for the baby in the future and may cause problems during the birth.

Unless your doctor recommends that you get your labour induced at 38 weeks, it is a good idea to stick with the natural birthing process, as there is a high possibility that labour induction may lead to a C-section instead of a natural birth. Talk to your doctor before making the decision. Your doctor knows your entire history and will guide you correctly as to which method you should use.

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