The perinatal and maternal consequences of induction of labor at 39 weeks among low-risk nulliparous women are uncertain.
In this multicenter trial, we randomly assigned low-risk nulliparous women who were at 38 weeks 0 days to 38 weeks 6 days of gestation to labor induction at 39 weeks 0 days to 39 weeks 4 days or to expectant management. The primary outcome was a composite of perinatal death or severe neonatal complications; the principal secondary outcome was cesarean delivery.
A total of 3062 women were assigned to labor induction, and 3044 were assigned to expectant management. The primary outcome occurred in 4.3% of neonates in the induction group and in 5.4% in the expectant-management group (relative risk, 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64 to 1.00). The frequency of cesarean delivery was significantly lower in the induction group than in the expectant-management group (18.6% vs. 22.2%; relative risk, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.76 to 0.93).
Induction of labor at 39 weeks in low-risk nulliparous women did not result in a significantly lower frequency of a composite adverse perinatal outcome, but it did result in a significantly lower frequency of cesarean delivery.