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Induced Labor Helps Moms Schedule Childbirth

--Many mothers-to-be are now planning their pregnancies right down to the delivery date. Some moms are choosing induced labor to cut down on confusion and make sure that everything goes as planned when it's time for the baby to arrive.

Dr. Joanne Stone, an obstetrician specializing in high-risk pregnancies at Mouth Sinai Medical Center in New York talked to The Early Show about this growing trend.

"I think there are a lot of real benefits for having labor induced, if the circumstances are right," Stone says. Some women want to make sure that their husband or mother is around for the birth, and others want to make sure that their own doctor is available for the delivery.

Other women who live far from the hospital may worry about delivering their second or third child faster than they did with the first.

"If they live an hour and a half from the hospital, they don’t want to take the chance of delivering in the car," Stone says.

While some women want to experience what Stone calls the "I Love Lucy" birth experience, where labor begins unexpectedly and everyone starts running around excitedly, others are not comfortable with that birthing image.

"Other women want that sort of control, and be able to plan their delivery, just like they plan other things in their life," Stone says.

There are a number of medical criteria that must be met before labor can be induced, Stone says. If the fetus is less than 39 weeks old, the doctor must check to see that the lungs are fully developed, which is done via amniocentesis. The mother's cervix must also be favorable for delivery, Stone adds.

If the cervix is not ready for delivery, she said, it may increase the risk of Cesarean delivery.

Induced labor is also often used when the woman is still pregnant a week or two after the due date, Stone says, if the baby stops growing, or when health problems like high blood pressure develop in the mother.

Other times, she says, parents choose induced labor so their child will have a special birth date, like January 1, 2000.

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