This article which appeared in Science Daily discusses some of the hazards of early birth for babies. Mostly, elective inductions are under consideration — there are times when it is better for a baby to be out of the womb, even if it’s still too early for him or her.
In my (never) humble opinion, doctors who induce mothers pre-term for only elective reasons are crossing an ethical line, perhaps bordering on malpractice. Even when they induce during the term period (but prior to 40 weeks) for elective reasons, I think it’s crossing the line, or at least getting dangerously close. Both of my babies were born spontaneously at 39 weeks and 2 days of gestation, so I have not yet been past my due date. However, both pregnancies, I was feeling very great with child by the time 37 weeks rolled around, and was ready for them to make an early appearance, so I feel for women whose pregnancies last even longer. However, if the baby is not ready, then it’s just not the right time. In general, nature knows best. There is a lot of maturation that takes place in those final weeks — why deprive the baby of that when he or she needs it?