Giving older women the option to be induced on their due date may reduce the risks of stillbirth and death.
A study published in PLOS Medicine found that if first-time-mums, who are over the age of 35, give birth on their due date they are less likely to experience birth complications.
The researchers shared, “Bringing forward the routine offer of induction of labour from the current recommendation of 41–42 weeks to 40 weeks of gestation in nulliparous women aged ≥35 years may reduce overall rates of perinatal death.”
If a woman is overdue, she will be given a few extra weeks to let labour happen naturally. However, the researchers believe that giving birth on their due date may a safer option for both mums and babies.
Older women have a higher risk of experiencing complications during their pregnancy, including stillbirth.
Hannah Knight, who is the lead author of the study, she said, “The number of first-time mothers over the age of 35 is rising. It’s very important that these women receive the best advice on how to minimise the risks to themselves and their baby.”
If doctors induce the mum on her due date they will lower the risks, which are small but still there nonetheless.
Medical professionals will induce labour if a pregnancy has passed the due date, prolonged pregnancies can be very dangerous for both the mum and baby.
A woman may be induced if she has a health problem, if her waters have broken or if she has passed her due date by a substantial amount of time.
The team expressed their concerns for women who have their first baby at the age of 35 or older as they are at an increased risk of pregnancy complications, including perinatal death.
The experts suggest bringing forward the routine offer of induction of labour from 41–42 weeks to 40 weeks of gestation for women aged 35 and older.
They believe inducing labour at week 40 rather than week 42 is a safer option.
Nearly 80,000 women took part in the study conducted by the team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The researchers believe this change has the potential to save the lives of 50 babies per annum.
Despite their findings, the team understand that it is too soon to change the guidelines.
The team have stated the further research must be conducted before making any alterations.