Scheduled births are specific dates or times in which delivery of a baby is set by doctors and parents. Usually, scheduled births are done for health reasons, such as a planned Cesarean section, or if a woman is significantly past her due date. However, recent trends show that some women want scheduled births as part of time management, to ensure that their partner will be able to attend the birth, or to prevent inconvenience of sudden, natural labor. There is some debate about health risks posed by scheduled births, although studies have not conclusively proved a damaging effect.
If a pregnant woman is more that a week past her due date, a doctor may recommend scheduling a time for an induced labor. Due dates are not usually exactly calculated, as it is sometimes impossible to establish what day conception took place. Yet certain health signs may signal that the delay in labor is not due to a miscalculation and may cause stress or damage to both mother and child. If the baby is growing too large, labor may become extremely difficult, and a Cesarean may become necessary. The placenta may also become weakened, preventing nutrition from reaching the baby.
To induce labor, doctors can use a hormone such as Pitocin to cause the body to go into labor quickly, provided that the cervix is in the softened state that allows delivery. A scheduled birth generally occurs when a doctor decides that a pregnancy is going on too long, and sets a specific date for induction if natural labor has not occurred before then. Similarly, if a birth is a planned Cesarean section, a doctor can schedule the birth as they would any other surgery.
Recently, mothers have begun scheduling births as a way to control the circumstances. If a partner is going to be out of the area after a certain point, a doctor may set a time for induction to ensure that the partner can be with the mother. If a woman lives alone and is concerned that she would not be able to get to the hospital while in labor, a doctor may also schedule a birth. However, some reasons are considered frivolous by many, such as wanting a scheduled birth in order to pick your child’s birthday, or to ensure a favorable astrological horoscope.
As with any medical procedure, induced labor carries several health risks. Most doctors will not perform scheduled births without a valid medical reason, out of concern for the health of both mother and child. Some studies have show that induced labors are more painful and may last longer than natural labors. The use of Pitocin also makes labor a more complicated process, as both the mother and baby must be constantly monitored and dosage adjusted depending on the progression of the labor.
Many medical agencies recommend that you do not have a scheduled birth for reasons of convenience or preference. While it would be nice to truly control when and how babies arrive, labor is a natural process that often works on its own time schedule. Unless there is a valid medical concern, many consider the risks inherent in inducing labor for scheduled births to outweigh the convenient benefits.