Elective labor induction vs expectant management of pregnant women at term and children's educational outcomes at 8 years of age

E. Yisma, B. W. Mol, J. W. Lynch, M. N. Mittinty, L. G. Smithers

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the effect of elective induction of labor at 39 weeks' gestation on children's educational outcomes as measured using the Australian National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests in school year 3 (∼8 years of age), compared with expectant management. Methods: We merged perinatal data on all infants born in South Australia from 1999 to 2008 with children's school assessment data from NAPLAN. The study population included all singleton infants born without a malformation at 39–42 weeks in vertex presentation. Children who had undertaken the NAPLAN test in school year 3 were included. We excluded births to women who had a contraindication to vaginal delivery and those with a condition possibly justifying elective delivery before 39 weeks. The outcome of interest was children's educational outcome as measured using NAPLAN, which includes five learning domains (reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy). Each domain was categorized according to performance at or below vs above the national minimum standard (NMS). Average treatment effects (ATEs) of elective induction of labor at 39 weeks compared with expectant management on the proportion of children performing at/below the NMS for each domain were estimated using the augmented inverse-propensity-weighted estimator, accounting for potential confounders. Results: Of 53 843 children born at 39–42 weeks in vertex presentation from 1999 to 2008 and who were expected to participate in the year-3 NAPLAN from 2008 to 2015, a total of 31 120 had at least one year-3 NAPLAN domain. Of these, 1353 children were delivered after elective induction of labor at 39 weeks while 29 767 children were born following expectant management. The ATEs (mean differences) of elective induction of labor at 39 weeks compared with expectant management on the proportion of children scoring at/below the NMS on each domain were 0.01 (95% CI, –0.02 to 0.03) for reading, 0.02 (95% CI, 0.00–0.04) for writing, 0.01 (95% CI, –0.01 to 0.04) for spelling, 0.02 (95% CI, –0.01 to 0.04) for grammar and 0.03 (95% CI, 0.00–0.05) for numeracy. Conclusion: Elective induction of labor at 39 weeks did not affect children's standardized literacy and numeracy testing outcomes at 8 years of age when compared with expectant management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • cognition
  • elective induction of labor
  • epidemiology
  • expectant management
  • school assessment

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