New research suggests that inducing birth two or three weeks ahead of the full 40 weeks isn't as harmless as many doctors believe, the Globe and Mail reports. The study found that children born after 37 weeks tended to have IQs 1.7 points lower than those born at 38 or 39 weeks, and had a higher, though small, risk of dying in early infancy.
Anywhere between 37 and 41 weeks is considered to be full term. Doctors in recent decades have increasingly opted to induce birth at 37 weeks when they believe there is a risk of a stillbirth or complications for the mother. More studies are needed to determine whether the practice might be doing more harm than good, say researchers.