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Is it safe to induce at 38 weeks?

I've heard that at 38 weeks, the baby is fully formed and able to function outside the womb. The reason I ask is because I haven't seen my doctor for two and a half weeks, and my next appt. falls on the beginning of my 38th week. I want to ask my doctor if she will induce me because I have been having horrible problems. Dizzy spells, constant pain (Braxton-Hicks) in my lower back and upper uterus, swollen hands, feet, and legs, major headaches, etc. Does it sound like pre-eclampsia? I haven't called my L&D, but it's getting to the point where the pain all over is getting to be too much...what should I do? This is my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy and delivery was nothing like this, I was pain-free until 3 hours before my daughter was born...

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Asked by T.Lib at 1:22 PM on Nov. 12, 2009 in Pregnancy

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Answers (13)
  • i ahd my dd at 38 wks,.no problems i ahd ds at 37 wks no problems

    Answer by piwife at 1:24 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • my doctor was going to induce me at 38 weeks if my son hadn't come yet, he was born at 36 weeks and was perfect, my dd was born at 37 weeks and perfect too :) GL

    Answer by josiesmommy00 at 1:27 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • My 3rd child was induced at 38 weeks with no problems, but when I had my youngest last year the hospital now has a policy that they won't induce before 39 weeks unless there is a medical necessity. I was in extreme pain too - I couldn't get up from my couch by myself - but I didn't have a strictly "medical" problem so they weren't able to get it approved. I had a csection at 39 weeks.

    Answer by missanc at 1:43 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • Yup, 38 weeks is fine, and safe :)

    Answer by mamie2shoes at 1:43 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • I would call and tell the doctor that you are concerned you have some pre-eclampsia symptoms. If you do have it, I'm sure they'll induce. I have read that the baby's breathing ability is much more reliable at 39 weeks or more. Good luck. Not much longer!

    Answer by Hazelnutkin at 1:48 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • You should call in before your appointment if you're ever concerned about anything--

    You might try eating more protein, drinking more water, getting more rest, maybe try some risk-free high BP reduction home remedies.

    It *might* be safe to induce at 38 weeks~ babies are often fine and healthy. But some do have preemie complications, even at that gestation.

    It's important to weigh risks here, of course. If you can avoid induction, getting healthy-staying healthy, it's safest.
    Your body may not be ready to accept the push at that time, it can create a higher risk for a cesarean.

    Hopefully, you can work on your health and enjoy a natural, spontaneous delivery! Good luck!

    Answer by doulala at 2:05 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • I was induced at 38 weeks due to GD (or so they thought) and her size. She was much smaller than they predicted and after 32 hours of labor, she ended up in the NICU for 8 more days due to breathing problems. By my calculations, I was only 36.5 weeks even though the doctor insisted otherwise. Unless you know the date of ovulation when you concieved, I would wait out longer until 40 weeks to make sure that the baby really is 38 weeks at least.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 2:08 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • Just like all infants, toddlers and children develop differently all babies in utero develop differently. Dating of pregnancy is not an exact science and like I said, all babies are different. One person having a "perfectly healthy" child at 38 weeks is really irrelevant to you and your baby.

    Answer by happySAHMmomof2 at 2:16 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • i would definitely talk to your OB or midwife about the problems you are having.

    all babies are ready at different times. some are ready at 36 weeks, some aren't ready until 42. that's why i would never consider an induction unless i had real reason to believe the risks of preterm baby were outweighed by the risks of staying pregnant. hopefully after talking to your midwife/OB about it you will be in a better position to weigh the risks.

    one of the causes of infant death is induction before due date. and i'm sure all of those women thought their babies were ready because they were past that 38 week mark.... in most cases, it's not worth the risk imo

    my sister was induced at 39.5 weeks, though, because of swelling and high BP. it is every mom's choice. :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:19 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

  • i think jademom's example is a really good (and sad) one. it's so sad that she had to go through that because the doctors thought baby was ready.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:20 PM on Nov. 12, 2009

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