Importance: Although labor induction at 39 weeks of gestation has been shown to reduce the number of cesarean deliveries, compared with expectant management, without increasing neonatal morbidity in nulliparous, low-risk women, the association between induction at 39 weeks and longer-term childhood cognitive outcomes is not certain. Objective: To evaluate educational outcomes of children born by induction at 39 or 40 weeks compared with those whose mothers were expectantly managed beyond those weeks. Design, Setting, and Participants: This statewide cohort study was conducted in Rhode Island. The participants included children of nulliparous women who were born at 39 weeks of gestation or later and then completed third-grade math and reading tests during the 2014 to 2017 academic year. Data analysis was performed from July 2019 to October 2019. Exposures: Induction of labor compared with expectant management. Main Outcomes and Measures: Third-grade math and reading test scores and proficiency (based on achievement level) among children born after induction in the 39th or 40th week were compared with scores for those who remained in utero beyond that same gestational week. The hypothesis was that induction in the 39th or 40th week would not be associated with differences in math or reading scores or proficiency compared with expectant management past the 39th or 40th week of gestation. Results: Of the 6393 children meeting the inclusion criteria (mean [SD] age, 8.00 [0.22] years; 3208 boys [50.2%]; 376 [5.8%] black; 1280 [22.0%] Hispanic), 455 were delivered by induction in the 39th week and 610 were delivered by induction in the 40th week. There were no differences in mean math or reading test scores or in the frequency of math or reading proficiency between children delivered by induction at 39 or 40 weeks compared with those whose mothers were expectantly managed (overall mean [SD] math score, 744 ; overall mean [SD] reading score, 743 ; 2945 children [46%] achieved proficiency in math and 2833 [44%] achieved proficiency in reading). After adjusting for plausible confounders (race/ethnicity, maternal education, hypertension, diabetes, and socioeconomic status), induction continued to be associated with similar proficiency in math and reading compared with expectant management. For children born by induction at 39 weeks, the adjusted relative risks were 1.07 (95% CI, 0.97-1.18) for math proficiency and 0.98 (95% CI, 0.88-1.08) for reading proficiency. For children born by induction at 40 weeks, the adjusted relative risks were 0.97 (95% CI, 0.88-1.08) for math proficiency and 0.98 (95% CI, 0.89-1.08) for reading proficiency. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that the offspring of nulliparous women for whom labor is induced at 39 or 40 weeks have similar third-grade educational outcomes compared with the offspring of mothers who underwent expectant management past those gestational ages.
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