A prospective randomized controlled trial designed to investigate selective planned delivery is reported: 264 obstetrically normal women in the 38th week of pregnancy were admitted to this trial and 184 completed it. The infants of mothers in the planned delivery group had higher serum bilirubin levels on the fifth day post partum than control infants but no baby required treatment for hyperbilirubinaemia. Mothers in the planned delivery group required significantly greater amounts of pethidine while control mothers had a significantly higher incidence of meconium staining of the amniotic fluid. However, the infants in the two groups had similar Apgar scores at birth. There was one stillbirth in the control group; this was due to unrecognized fetal hypoxia during labour induced at 42 weeks for postmaturity.