Let baby set the delivery date.
- You can avoid or reduce many health risks for the mother and the baby by waiting until 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver, if there is no medical reason to deliver earlier.
- Research shows that the fetus goes through a significant amount of lung, liver, and brain development between 37 weeks and 39 weeks of pregnancy.
- Your due date could be off by up to 2 weeks, which means if you have your baby before 39 weeks you could actually be having it early.
- Research shows that delaying delivery until 39 weeks of pregnancy or later—if there is no medical reason to deliver earlier—is not associated with increased rates of stillbirths.1
Is It Worth It? (4-minute video)
Why should I wait until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver?
- Babies born at or after 39 weeks of pregnancy face fewer health problems.
- Babies' brains, lungs, and liver continue important development until 39 weeks.
What are the risks to my baby and to me if I deliver without a medical reason before 39 weeks of pregnancy?
Risks to the baby:
- May need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- Birth complications, including breathing problems and cerebral palsy
- Developmental disabilities, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- A 63% greater chance of death within the first year of life compared to babies born between 39 weeks and 41 weeks2
Risks to the mother:
- Postpartum depression3
- Stronger and more frequent contractions4
- Need for a cesarean delivery and its outcomes, including risk of infection, longer recovery time, and the possible need for cesarean delivery in future pregnancies5
What questions should I ask my health care provider?
- Are there any medical reasons that I might need induced labor before 39 weeks?
- What are the potential complications for my baby of elective induction?
- What are the potential complications for my own health?
- How do you tell when my body is ready for labor?