Intended for healthcare professionals


When to induce late term pregnancies

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 20 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6486

Linked Research

Induction of labour at 41 weeks versus expectant management and induction of labour at 42 weeks

  1. Sara Kenyon, professor of evidence based maternity care1,
  2. Lee Middleton, senior statistician2,
  3. Magdalena Skrybant, patient and public involvement and engagement lead for NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands1,
  4. Tracey Johnston, consultant in fetal maternal medicine3
  1. 1Institute of Applied Research Centre, Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
  2. 2Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit, Institute of Applied Health Research, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Kenyon s.kenyon{at}

41 weeks looks like the safer option for women and their babies

Giving clear unbiased information to pregnant women enabling them to make their own choices is extremely important. For those with late term pregnancies a new trial reported by Wennerholm and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.l6131) suggests that waiting longer than 41 weeks to induce labour increases the risk of perinatal mortality.1

The SWEdish Post-term Induction Study (SWEPIS) randomised 2760 women with low risk singleton pregnancies to induction of labour at 41 weeks or expectant management until induction at 42 weeks. The primary outcome was a composite of perinatal mortality and morbidity and no difference was found between the groups. The authors observed an average of three days difference in gestation, and the proportions of caesarean sections, instrumental births, and major maternal morbidity were similar. A systematic …

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