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Early Planned C-Sections Put Baby at Risk

Study Shows 36% of Planned C-Sections Are Performed Before 39 Weeks of Gestation

Convenience Driving Early Delivery continued...

"To accommodate busy schedules and to minimize the chance that a patient will begin labor and require a non-elective procedure when her doctor might not be available, procedures are frequently scheduled just before 39 weeks of gestation," he wrote.

Green tells WebMD that most obstetricians probably see no harm in pushing delivery dates back a week or so, and will be surprised by the study findings.

"These findings tell us that when it comes to newborn morbidity, many doctors and their patients are running a yellow light if not a red light," he says.

Physicians may also be feeling pressure from hospital administrators to perform planned C-sections at specific times.

Tita points out that the rate of early, planned, C-section deliveries ranged from a low of 18% to a high of 50% at the hospitals participating in the study.

"This indicates that some of this was driven by the institutions," he says.

Thorp says he tries to perform planned, uncomplicated cesarean sections in the 39th week, but he admits that it is sometimes a challenge.

"I would have loved to have performed the two that I did this morning at the end of last week," he says. "That would have fit my schedule better and it would have made my patients happy. But they hadn't quite reached 39 weeks."

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