Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Risk of recurrence of prolonged pregnancy

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 01 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:476

Rapid Response:

"Postdates" pregnancies can be wonderful

To the editor:

I have eight children; with two of whom I had full ten
months gestations: my sixth and seventh children, who
were born at 44 weeks and 46 weeks gestation
respectively. These children are outstandingly bright
and healthy; and their pregnancies wonderful. Their
births were my quickest and least painful as well: much
can be said about a long, gradual easing into the birth

Having had births induced prior to these children for
"postdates", I have since learned about the risks of
induction, and have come to the conclusion that in the
healthy woman, the dangers associated with induction
far outweigh any risks of going past the arbitrarily
assigned 40 week "best before date": hypertonic
contractions, uterine rupture (even in the unscarred
uterus if Cytotec- misoprostal- is involved); increased
risk of shoulder dystocia,; fetal hypoxia; fetal distress;
increased pain in the mother (induced labor can feel
torturous); increased likelihood of instrumental delivery,
epidural anesthetic and cesarean section, all of which
carry their own great risks: the dangers and
unpleasantness associated with labour induction are
numerous, and unacceptable in today's alleged
"woman-centered" care.

I myself was a child born at 44 weeks gestation; I come
from a family of "ten month mamas", and I am deeply
proud of bearing this title myself. It is nothing less than
a desecration of all that is beautiful and gentle in our
world to use drugs to force a birth; especially since
such damage can result to women, babies and society.
Can the enormous increase in learning and
developmental disabilities in today's children be
associated with the inevitable oxygen deprivation in
their drugged and induced births?- most likely.

For references about the dangers of labour induction,
please see the following web page:

Leilah McCracken

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 February 2003
Leilah McCracken
childbirth writer/researcher
Vancouver, Canada