To increase awareness about the health risks of elective inductions of labor and the importance of full-term pregnancies, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) has launched the "Wait For Labor to Start on Its Own" online pledge on its Facebook page.
The pledge encourages pregnant women who are healthy and well to wait for labor to start on its own, and was launched in November to coincide with National Prematurity Awareness Month.
Elective induction of labor can lead to cesarean surgical birth, hemorrhage and infection, says AWHONN, which adds that babies born even in those last few weeks of pregnancy are at greater risk for:
- breathing problems;
- feeding issues;
- low blood sugar; and
- problems maintaining their own body temperature.
What's more, women aren't always certain when they got pregnant and research shows estimates can be off by a week or more.
Pregnant women, healthcare providers, family and friends are encouraged to sign and share the AWHONN pledge.
Mothers who sign the pledge promise to talk with their healthcare provider about their desire to wait for spontaneous labor and learn the reasons why it is important for women to go the full 40 weeks of pregnancy if everything is healthy and well.
Participants also commit to sharing the pledge with others to build a strong community of supporters who can encourage women to wait for labor to start on its own and avoid non-medically indicated labor inductions or cesareans.
"The 'Wait for Labor to Start on its Own' pledge encourages the best and healthiest outcomes for pregnant women and their babies," said AWHONN's CEO Karen Peddicord, PhD, RN.
"Labor should only be induced for medical reasons-not for convenience or scheduling concerns. It is critical that women's health nurses work with their patients to help them understand the risks of elective induction of labor and motivate them to carry their babies to term."
AWHONN launched the pledge in conjunction with its Go the Full 40 Campaign.
That campaign helps expectant mothers and women everywhere understand why babies need at least a full 40 weeks of pregnancy to grow and develop. The "Go the Full 40 Campaign" is an outreach of AWHONN's consumer media, Healthy Mom&Baby, which provides free expert-authored advice to women and families in a magazine, website and iPad app.
To sign the pledge, go to www.awhonn.org/full40pledge.
More information about the pledge and the Go the Full Campaign can be found at www.GoTheFull40.com.