HealthDay News — Induction of labor in uncomplicated pregnancies during weeks 37 to 41 of gestation is associated with lower education performance in children, according to a study published online February 22 in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
Renée J. Burger, from the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues studied the influence of elective induction of labor for each week of gestation from 37 to 42 weeks on offspring school performance at 12 years of age. The analysis included 226,684 liveborn children (2003 to 2008) from uncomplicated pregnancies.
The researchers found that for each gestational age up to 41 weeks, induction of labor was associated with decreased school performance scores vs nonintervention (at 37 weeks: −0.05 standard deviation when adjusted for confounding factors). Fewer children after induction of labor reached higher secondary school level vs those with nonintervention (at 38 weeks: 48 vs 54%; adjusted odds ratio, 0.88).
“This is to our knowledge the first study using a fetus-at-risk approach to compare school performance at age 12 after induction of labor and nonintervention in low-risk term pregnancies, simulating the dilemma often faced in clinical practice,” the authors write. “Clinicians should balance the advantages and disadvantages of induction of labor and incorporate long-term outcomes in counseling and decisions around induction of labor.”
One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.