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When Early Delivery Is Your Only Choice

Sometimes your baby needs to be born early because one of you has a medical problem. The most common medical reasons for inducing labor early include:

  • Your baby isn’t growing. You may hear your doctor call this intrauterine growth restriction or IUGR.
  • Your water breaks. You may hear your doctor call this premature rupture of membranes, or PROM.
  • You had diabetes before you were pregnant or developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy.
  • You have high blood pressure or preeclampsia.

In these cases, the benefits of an early induction outweigh the risks. However, if there are no medical risks present, it's best to let labor begin on its own. 

When an Early Delivery Isn’t a Good Choice

Putting pressure on your doctor to deliver your baby early when it’s not medically necessary could be harmful to you and your baby. While the last 1-2 months of pregnancy can be very uncomfortable, it's not a good idea to induce for any of these reasons:

  • You don’t want to gain any more weight.
  • Concerns that your baby is too big
  • You are having trouble sleeping.
  • You have a family or work event you want to schedule around.
  • Your doctor wants to schedule around a vacation, conference, or another family or work event.
  • You want your baby to have a certain birth date.

Talk with your doctor early on in your pregnancy about when and why she would recommend early delivery. If your doctor suggests an elective early delivery, the March of Dimes recommends asking these questions:

  • Is there a problem with my health or the health of my baby so I need to have my baby early?
  • Can we wait to see if my labor begins on its own?

If there is no medical reason for having an early delivery, then your doctor should respect your wishes to wait until labor occurs on its own.