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Elective Early C-Section

If a scheduled c-section is in your future, don't be tempted to ink in a delivery date that's much earlier than when your baby's due. Some moms-to-be have been doing this lately (often for convenience or even vanity -- thinking a shorter pregnancy will be easier on their bodies). But even though a baby born at, say, 37 weeks isn't technically considered premature, she could still have problems.

That's what researchers from the National Institutes of Health discovered after investigating 12,000 infants who were delivered by elective c-section between 37 and 42 weeks. Those born at 37 weeks were two to four times more at risk for complications like breathing problems and infections than those born at 39 weeks or later.

Of course, if there are medical reasons to have your baby early, it's certainly best to go ahead. "Otherwise, you shouldn't have a c-section before thirty-nine weeks," says Brian Mercer, M.D., director of maternal-fetal medicine at CASE-MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

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