When Is It Safe To Induce Chilbirth?

Medical emergencies aren't the only reason a woman can have her labor induced. If she's married to a true football aficionado, she just may do it to take one for the home team. That's what Colleen Pavelka did.

Colleen was nine months pregnant and married to a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago Bears fan with tickets to the NFC Championship game last Sunday.

Due to give birth on Monday, and afraid that she might go into labor during the game, Colleen chose to have her doctor deliver the baby last Friday. Mark Patrick Pavelka was born in enough time for Dad Mark to celebrate his arrival and watch the Bears play the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field.

The typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Because none of us know what may happen that far down the road, an unforeseen event could cause a woman to opt to induce labor. There are almost as many reasons for choosing to induce labor as there are pregnant women. Sometimes a woman will schedule induced labor to accommodate hers or her husband's work schedule. Choosing when to go into labor may also allow a woman to have family and friends present for the birth who might otherwise miss it because they have to travel.

Of course, there are some more unusual reasons for inducing labor-- like not giving birth to the devil. Tampa Bay's Channel 10 News reported that many pregnant women in the area didn't want to give birth on June 6, 2006. The numbers "666" appear in the Bible's Book of Revelations as a reference to the anti-Christ. Add that to the hype that surrounded the remake of The Omen, and it's easy to see why so many women canceled their appointments to be induced on that day.

Dr. Suzanne Roberts, an OB/GYN in the area, was quoted in the report as saying, "A lot of our patients are requesting that they be induced either before that or they get scheduled for induction after that and they are wanting to know, if they happen to come in, is there anything we can do to prevent them from delivering on June 6. If the baby wants to come on June 6, the baby will come on June 6."

Shawn Stimmel is in his first-year as the women's basketball coach at Saint Mary's University in Winona, Minn. Two days before the Saint Mary's Cardinals hosted Augsburg on Jan. 13, wife Jessica gave birth to the couple's second child through induced labor. Shawn explained that traveling for his work was the reason for the choice. He wanted to be sure he didn't miss the birth of daughter Isabella.

Jessica Stimmel told the Winona Daily News that she didn't mind, "Sometimes it does get hectic, but I am just very supportive of him and 100 percent behind him."

Now there's a woman who really believes in standing by her man!

Giving baby his first 15 minutes of fame can be another great incentive to inducing labor. The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, La., reported that the town's "Baby New Year" was born 5:58 am on Jan. 1. Jonel and Charles Leger chose to have Baby Keegan's birth induced on that day. He was originally due on Dec. 24.

However, it seemed to be worth the wait, because Baby Keegan received a "New Year's Baby" teddy bear and gift basket from the hospital. He also got his first taste of stardom from local newspaper and television stations.

Sometimes Mom may think inducing labor is a good idea, but baby may feel otherwise. Diana Goumaz of Tulsa, Okla., was expecting daughter Blair on Christmas Day. Diana went the Saturday before Christmas to have her labor induced at Hillcrest Healthcare System's Peggy V. Helmerich Women's Health Center.

However, Baby Blair decided she would stage her entrance to give it a bit more drama, and after putting Mom through 29 hours of labor, she was born a half-hour after midnight to become Tulsa's first baby of 2007. Diana told Tulsa World that she had been too busy to notice that her daughter had reached celebrity status by being the first Tulsan born in 2007.

Although we've had some fun looking at the more untypical reasons to induce labor, there are some important things to remember. Labor induction is usually a safe procedure, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that a woman doesn't elect to induce labor before 39 weeks gestation. For some women, it may not be wise to induce labor. Your doctor will be able to tell you if the procedure is right for you.

Foxnews.com Health contributor Maria Esposito contributed to this story.

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Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.