Longer Gestation May Lead To Smarter Baby

Another reason to avoid induction when it isn’t medically necessary -- a new study has shown that babies who stay in the womb longer have a slight advantage in reading and math.

IV for labor induction

Inductions are tempting, but if you can avoid them, do so. New research has revealed that it’s to your baby’s advantage to stay inside as long as possible.


The latter portions of your pregnancy generally aren’t fun. It feels like you’ve run out of room, you wake to pee a thousand times at night, and laying down is uncomfortable (if not impossible). You may be physically unable to do your job any longer and may have to go on maternity leave early.

Your OB offers an induction, which sounds great -- you’ll know your baby’s birthday in advance, you can plan for childcare, and you can get him on the outside where you’ll both be more comfortable.

However, in addition to a dozen other complications that may arise (such as a failed induction leading to a c-section), new research has found that babies who stay cooking as long as possible score better on math and reading tests as 8-year-olds.

Effects on full-term babies

Researchers have known that a preterm birth can have an effect on a baby’s brain development, but this is the first time that there has been a noted difference between a baby born at 37 weeks, for example, when compared to a 41 weeker -- both considered full term. The study documented a difference between the two groups that would account for a 1.5-point difference on an IQ test.

As with quite a bit of research, this study was limited by the fact that there may have been some other factor that led to an earlier delivery, so the researchers cannot say for sure that an earlier (but full-term) birth is the sole cause for the deficit.

However, it can be viewed as another reason to avoid the Pitocin drip if you can.

More on inductions

Labor induction rates too high
Labor induction at 32 weeks? Maybe, if your water breaks
Inducing labor: What you need to know


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