Early Induction: What You Should Know

In line with last week's post about recommendations against elective induction before 39 weeks, let's talk about what an early induction means. Below are some basic points with links to more in-depth information from evidence-based resources.

How early is an early induction?

An early induction is any induction that is performed before 39 weeks of pregnancy.  Experts from several recognized organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Childbirth Connection and March of Dimes, state that a baby needs at least 39 completed weeks in order to fully develop their brain and other vital organs.

What are the risks of early induction?

Induction in and of itself carries risks to mom and baby. Because induction is an artificial process for starting labor, your body may not be ready to follow its cues. As a result, inductions can cause a cascade of additional medical processes (interventions) to keep labor going, which can ultimately lead to an increased risk for cesarean surgery. Unless there is clear medical indication (see below), letting labor begin on its own is the safest decision.

Induction before 39 weeks brings an additional risk of prematurity. Babies born even a little too early can experience complications like problems with breathing, feeding, maintaining body temperature and jaundice. In most cases, babies know best when it comes to being born.

What if I need to be induced?

There are solid medical reasons for induction before 39 weeks. Being done with being pregnant, isn't one of them. ;)  There are also several reasons given for induction that are not true medical reasons. It's important to know the difference. Click through and read up on the two links provided above on the new induction resource page on Childbirth Connection, a not-for-profit organization founded that works to improve the quality of maternity care.

If you're pregnant and faced with the decision to induce and even if you're not read up! Inform yourself. Learn all that you can, from sources in addition to your care provider and other than well-meaning family and friends. Start here:


induction and breastfeeding

June 8, 2015 03:01 PM by al

i was induced at 37weeks with no sign of birth being close. i believe the shock of this was the cause of severe breastfeeding issues, my body was not ready to produce milk and the emotional stress didn't help.

the induction was needed though, both for me and baby. I'd have liked to know that it would affect us after the birth as well.


Induction labor

June 17, 2015 09:26 AM by Javiera Stephens

In my country (Chile) the incidence of induction in labor is extremely high. The reason is that womans don`t know that they can`t ask or refuse induction. And midwife or doctors don`t tell the patient what are they doin`t. They just have induction without asking.

So this information is very useful to inform women and teach them what induction means.

(So sorry for my grammar)

You must create an account or login with your existing account to provide article ratings.

Recent Stories

"Plan to Be Late" and Other Due Date Anxiety Busting Strategies

Thanksgiving and Pregnancy: A "Yes, You Can" Guide

"What's It Like?" Series: Vaginal Birth, Part 3

Download our App
Your Pregnancy Week by Week
Find A Lamaze Class
Lamaze Online Parent Education
Lamaze Video Library
Push for Your Baby