Almost 20 years ago, we both finished Ob/Gyn residency training programs and joined obstetrics and gynecology practices in the northeastern part of the United States. We each remember our in-hospital days–Thursday and Friday, because they always began by starting several inductions on the labor floor and then performing 1 or 2 scheduled cesarean deliveries.
Scheduling deliveries was the norm in those days. Patients would eagerly take out their brand new Palm Pilots to pick a date for their induction or cesarean. Once a patient had reached “term,” defined as 37 weeks gestation, everyone agreed that it was fair game to start planning for delivery.
The high rate of planned delivery represented a perfect storm in which patients’ and providers’ interests aligned precisely. What patient didn’t want to schedule her induction or cesarean by the light of a day and avoid a mad dash to the hospital? Wouldn’t it be nice...