Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 10.11.2016 Interview with: Jason Bentley, MBiostat Doctoral Fellow Menzies Centre for Health Policy University of Sydney What is the background for this study? Response: Planned birth (labor induction or pre-labor caesarean section) is a decision to intervene and so determines a gestational age at birth that would have otherwise been later if pregnancy had progressed through to spontaneous labor. Significant changes in clinical practice have seen an increase in planned births before 39-40 completed week’s gestation from an increased use of primary and repeat cesarean section and a greater use of labor induction. At a population level this has resulted in a decrease in modal gestational age with planned birth accounting for almost half of births before 39-40 weeks. Clinical research has indicated that the threshold for planned birth and the gestational age for intervening has reduced. Numerous reasons have been given as justification for this including litigation, patient and provider perception of safety versus risk, reduced perinatal mortality, increased fetal monitoring, maternal age, obesity and convenience. There has also been the clinical perception that birth just before the optimal date carries little significant morbidity, with a focus on short-term risks to mother or baby only rather than longer-term outcomes. It is of paramount importance to ensure there are no unintended harms from such a significant shift in clinical practice. This study investigated whether the timing of planned birth was associated with poorer developmental outcomes at school age. (more…)