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i am 41 weeks pregnant. Recently we had been having too much pressure from family and friends to go for induction of labor. I had a very healthy pregnancy but due to pressure my husband and i are confused and have decided to schedule an induction at the hospital. I never had any complaints during the preganacy and my baby is healthy too, very active with a good amniotic fluid level. I really need to know if we made a correct decision.”
The 40-week pregnancy is only an average, and the average first pregnancy goes to 41 weeks. Usually, when a woman is post-date a doctor or midwife will schedule a biophysical profile (BPP) of the fetus, which unually consists of ultrasound assessments of amniotic fluid volume, fetal tone, fetal activity, and fetal breathing movements, and also a non-stress test (NST), which measures the fetal heart rate in response to stimuli. The assessment components are graded between 0 and 2 points, and then added to yield a number between 0 and 10. A BPP of 8 to 10 is generally considered reassuring. If the BPP score is on the lower side, though, that can mean the fetus is in danger, and an induction or even an emergency c-section may be necessary. If the profile shows that all is well, though, talk to your OB about the possibility of having a BPP every other day until you go into labor on your own or the radiologist sees a reason for concern.
Because induction or a c-section carries a level of health risk to the mother and the fetus, care providers use a BPP assessment to decide if the benefits outweigh the potential risk. Your OB should also check your cervix to see how likely it would be than an induction would work. If your cervix is high, thick and forward, and induction might not take. If you’re already dilated, though, and a bit effaced then jump-starting contractions with an IV drip of synthetic hormones is more likely to work. For more on things that may or may not jump-start labor, see this article.