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Induce at 41 weeks, RCT finds

Thursday November 21st, 2019

Inducing labour at 41 weeks of gestation is significantly safer than waiting another week, according to the findings of a major Swedish randomised study published today.

Researchers found a lower risk of loss of the baby at 41 weeks than at 42 weeks – although the overall risk is low, they report in The BMJ.

The study involved some 2,760 women with an average age of 31 years, treated at 14 Swedish hospitals.

Women were randomly assigned to induction at 41 weeks or expectant management, with induction at 42 weeks.

On most measures, such as rates of Caesarean section, there were no differences – but the trial had to be stopped early after six babies died in the expectant management group. There were no babies lost in the induction group.

Researcher Professor Ulla-Britt Wennerholm, of Gothenburg University, said women “should be informed of the risk profile of induction of labour versus expectant management and offered induction of labour no later than at 41 full weeks. This could be one of few interventions that reduces stillbirth."

Induction of labour at 41 weeks versus expectant management until 42 weeks (Swedish post-term induction study, SWEPIS): multicentre, open label, randomised superiority trial. BMJ 21 November 2019

https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6486

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | Nursing & Midwifery | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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