There are several schools of thought on whether it is appropriate for a woman to choose to have her baby early. In medical terms this is known as elective induction of labor. Many factors come into play when physicians decide to induce labor. If you are experiencing medical complications associated with pregnancy, your physician may advise delivery if you are full term (greater than 37 weeks pregnant). Second, the accuracy of your due date will be an issue if plans are made to induce your labor early. If you had an ultrasound in the first trimester that verified the due date calculated by your last menstrual period, then your due date should be accurate, plus or minus one week. If you had a second trimester ultrasound that was consistent with the first, your due date should be accurate, plus or minus two weeks. Therefore, delivery at 39 weeks, even if off by 2 weeks, should still result in the delivery of a full term infant (greater than 37 weeks). Finally, the dilitation and effacement of your cervix prior to the induction of labor will be an issue. If your cervix has started to dilate and has started to efface, your physician may feel that an induction of labor is reasonable. If your cervix has not dilated or effaced, induction of your labor may significantly increase your risk of cesarean section.

Some physicians feel that electively inducing labor is not appropriate until 41 to 42 weeks, when there may be decreased functioning of the placenta. However, many physicians, including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, feel it is reasonable to induce labor at 39 weeks. Please feel free to discuss this with your physician.