The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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For low-risk women, common hospital practices such as labor induction do not improve health outcomes for mothers or babies and often cause harm. Electronic fetal monitoring (used in more than 85 percent of U.S. hospital births), nonemergency Cesarean sections, routine use of IV fluids, amniotomy (breaking the bag of waters), withholding food and water and episiotomy were all found to have adverse effects on mother, baby or both. The study, "Evidence Basis for the Ten Steps to Mother-Friendly Care," found that inducing labor increases fetal distress and that babies born after elective inductions are more likely to require admission to a neonatal intensive care unit. To avoid these problems, the researchers recommend midwifery care for low-risk women.