Those in North Carolina who recently had or are expecting a child might want to pay attention to the findings of a European study examining the benefits of inducing labor for babies who are larger than average. When babies are in the top weight percentile for their gestational age, there is risk that these babies face injuries if their shoulders get stuck during delivery. Inducing labor earlier than the normal 39 weeks could make delivery safer as the babies are smaller at 37 to 38 weeks.
Inducing a delivery early includes possible risks like breathing difficulties, but the study shows that the benefits might outweigh the risks. Induction may reduce a condition called shoulder dystocia, which can result in nerve damage, suffocation during delivery or fractures. This occurs when both shoulders get stuck due to the mother's pelvic bone, which keeps the infant from fully emerging. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that this complication occurs in 10 percent of larger infants compared to one percent in normal sized infants.
When 800 women with babies in the 95 percentile for weight were randomly assigned for being monitored during natural labor or induced, one case of shoulder dystocia was prevented for every 25 induced births. This means 6 percent of the natural births resulted in shoulder dystocia while only 2 percent of the induced births had this complication.
Parents should be made aware of the potential complications they might face during delivery and the options available in these situation. A physician who fails to prevent a complication may be held responsible in a medical malpractice lawsuit if a mother or a baby receive injuries during the delivery. This could also apply if a doctor did not properly explain the risks of anything done to prevent a complication.