According to a recent study, planning an early birth for your baby might give them developmental problems.
The chances are further increased with planned early C-sections
The study, done at the University of Sydney in New South Wales said that babies that were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are more likely to have developmental problems later on in life. 37 weeks is generally considered "full term" in medical science.
Premature births have been known to cause developmental problems, but because some parents choose to plan an early birth, such as with C-sections, the chances are further increased.
The study analyzed 153,730 infants who were born after 32 weeks. The researches then found out that 9.6% of those who were born early suffered from developmental issues at school age. Jason Bentley, lead author for the study, recommends that parents should go for 39 weeks if they wish to plan their child's birth.
There is an increasing trend of planned early births
Generally, C-sections are usually done if it's a complicated birth or if the baby or the mother is at risk. If parents would choose to have a C-section for a non-medical reason, then doctors are advised to inform them to wait until the 39th or 40th week.
The study adds more reason for parents to forego an early birth in favor of a later one. Most doctors would actually recommend prolonging the pregnancy for as long as possible since a longer gestational period is better for newborns
Dr. Siobhan Dolan from Montefiore Medical Center in New York chimed in and said, "If you are having a healthy pregnancy, it is best to wait for labor to start on its own and if you are being induced or having a cesarean section - wait until at least 39 weeks."
"If you have a pregnancy complication - you may need to be delivered before 39 weeks - so talk to you doctor to understand the risks and benefits," Dolan adds.
Why should I wait as long as possible to give birth?
Waiting until your due date has a lot of benefits not only for your baby, but also for you as well. Here are just some of the reasons why it's best to choose to give birth on or after your due date:
- It poses a huge risk for babies. Babies that are born before the regular 39 weeks of gestation are usually taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
- Bigger is better. The longer your child stays in your tummy, the bigger they'll grow. Bigger babies are healthier as they can regulate their bodily functions better since they're more mature.
- The brain develops better. Did you know that a baby's brain at 35 weeks weighs only 2/3 of what a 40 week old baby's brain weighs? This means that your baby's brain will be better developed if you choose to deliver at 40 weeks.
- Early births can cause breathing problems. The lungs are the last organs to mature in a baby. That's why babies that are born early, or premature can have more breathing problems than usual.
- It can cause complications for mothers. Inducing an early birth can cause a lot of complications since it increases the chances that a mother will require a C-section.
- It's more painful. In cases wherein a birth is artificially induced, different types of medication are used to induce the birth. When this happens, the contractions can actually be stronger and more painful for mothers.