High-tech births vs. nature's way


[StarTribune, June 02, 2010] Some say the pendulum has swung too far. The share of babies born before 37 weeks has jumped sharply since 1990, partly because doctors induce labor more often. C-sections have increased by more than 50 percent in the past decade and are now the most commonly performed surgery in the country.

Only that's not good for babies or mothers. Babies born even a week or two before their due date are more likely to suffer complications, such as respiratory distress and longer hospitalizations, and to die within the first year of life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For mothers, inductions lead to more painful births, blood loss, anesthesia and C-sections.

"There is little that is black and white in medicine," said Dr. Penny Wheeler, medical director for Allina Hospitals & Clinics and an obstetrician. "This one is."

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