New Albany, Ind. – March of Dimes and the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) recognized Baptist Health Floyd at the Indiana Perinatal Hospital Summit on September 5 for their work to reduce the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. This will give more babies a healthy start in life.
“The last few weeks of pregnancy are crucial. During this time, babies are still undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” says Baptist Health Floyd Birthing Center manager Julie Willoughby. “I am excited to report that in the past four months, we have shifted from 19.88 percent of elective deliveries occurring before 39 weeks to zero percent, which is giving babies the best start possible!”
At the event, 51 of Indiana’s birthing hospitals were recognized for their work to reduce the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. Indiana has more hospitals recognized than any other state in the East Region – this includes the area east of the Mississippi River.
“The significant reduction in Indiana’s early elective delivery rate shows that hospitals have made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life for both mothers and their newborns. Hospitals that have implemented a hard-stop policy have virtually eliminated early deliveries,” said Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association.
Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.
Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, March of Dimes has been getting the word out that “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait.”
The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. In Indiana, IHA and the March of Dimes Indiana Chapter have partnered to improve the quality of birth outcomes statewide, including the effort successfully completed by Baptist Health Floyd.