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OB Guideline 15: Scheduled and Elective Delivery

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OB Guideline 15: Scheduled and Elective Delivery

Related to: Clinical Guidelines, Communication, Documentation, Nursing, Obstetrics

Elective Delivery refers to delivery of a normal pregnancy without a recognized maternal or fetal indication.

Scheduled Delivery refers to a purposely timed delivery for either induction of labor or for cesarean birth.

Delivery occurring more than seven days prior to the EDD is associated with an increased risk of adverse neonatal outcomes and, in the case of elective induction, may be associated with an increased risk of cesarean delivery in nulliparous women.

Elective delivery of singleton gestations should not be planned to occur before seven days prior to the expected delivery date (EDD), prior to 39 weeks gestation.

When scheduled for maternal or fetal indications, referred to as a "scheduled indicated delivery," the timing of delivery is determined by the medical situation.1

Confirmation of term gestation is dependent on satisfying at least one of the following gestational age criteria:2

  • known date of assisted reproductive technologic intervention,
  • an ultrasound measurement of the fetus obtained at <20 weeks gestation supports gestational age of 39 weeks or greater,
  • fetal heart tones have been documented as present for 30 weeks by Doppler ultrasonography, and
  • it has been 36 weeks since a positive serum or urine human chorionic gonadotropin pregnancy test result.

A test indicating fetal lung maturity does not itself meet the criteria for elective delivery.


  1. Medically indicated late-preterm and early-term deliveries. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 560. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;121:908–10.
  2. Induction of labor. ACOG Practice Bulletin 107. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:386–97.

 

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March 29, 2010
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