Initiative to Reduce Elective Births Delivers
St. Louis, Missouri, April 15, 2014
A two year partnership between the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) is achieving its goal of significantly reducing early elective deliveries (EEDs) by the end of 2014. Of the 46 participating birthing hospitals in Missouri, 78 percent report a rate of five percent or less and 61 percent have had no EEDs in the last six months of reported data.
Additionally, of the 46 hospitals, 87 percent now have a “hard stop” policy in place which establishes strict medical guidelines for when a physician may schedule a delivery. Only 35 percent had a hard stop policy in place before the MHA/March of Dimes collaboration began. The policy prohibits doctors from scheduling a delivery – either by induction or cesarean section – before the baby is at a confirmed 39 weeks gestation. The policy applies to non-medically indicated (elective) deliveries only.
According to Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association, "In the best interests of the health of mothers and infants, Missouri's hospitals have been working to reduce early elective deliveries. This is one of many quality improvements they are aggressively pursuing to achieve the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower costs.”
The March of Dimes has been providing support to MHA hospitals in the form of its Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait program which includes educational materials and other resources. Trina Ragain, State Director of Program Services, Advocacy and Government Affairs for the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter, said, “This data provides hard evidence that more Missouri babies are being born full term, giving them the healthiest possible start to life. We hope that all of Missouri’s birthing hospitals will embrace this initiative and eliminate early elective deliveries.”
The March of Dimes encourages women to remain pregnant for a full 39 to 40 weeks if their pregnancy is healthy.
- A baby’s brain at 35 weeks weighs just two-thirds of what it will weigh at 39 to 40 weeks.
- A baby’s brain nearly doubles in size during the last six weeks of pregnancy.
- Babies born early have more learning and behavior problems in childhood than babies born at 39 to 40 weeks.
- Babies born early are more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).