Thirty Maryland Hospitals Receive March of Dimes Award for Giving More Babies a Healthy Start in Life

| Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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Baltimore, MD, June 23, 2015 —

Thirty hospitals in Maryland received an award from the March of Dimes for reducing the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. This will give more babies in Maryland a healthy start in life, as babies born too early may have more health problems at birth and later in life, according to the March of Dimes.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are important. Babies aren’t just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” said Scott Berns, MD, MPH, senior vice president and deputy medical director for the March of Dimes. “I commend these hospitals for being champions for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

Recently at the Maryland Patient Safety Center Conference, the March of Dimes partnered with the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Patient Safety Center to honor qualifying hospitals with a banner to display indicating the hospital's commitment to improving the quality of care for moms and babies. Photos of the banner presentations can be viewed in this photo gallery.

The banner program is a component of the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign, which 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.

Hospitals that received a banner include: Anne Arundel Medical Center; Calvert Memorial Hospital; Carroll Hospital Center; Frederick Memorial Hospital; Garrett County Memorial Hospital; Greater Baltimore Medical Center; Holy Cross Germantown Hospital; Holy Cross Hospital; Howard County General Hospital; Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; Johns Hopkins Hospital; Laurel Regional Hospital; MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center; MedStar Harbor Hospital; MedStar Montgomery Medical Center; MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital; MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital; Meritus Medical Center; Peninsula Regional Medical Center; Shady Grove Medical Center; Sinai Hospital; St. Agnes Hospital; The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center; The University of Maryland Charles Regional Hospital; The University of Maryland Shore Regional Hospital; The University of Maryland St. Joseph’s Hospital; The University of Maryland Medical Center; The University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center; Washington Adventist Hospital; and Western Maryland Health System.

“In Maryland, 8,914 babies are born too soon every year,” said Anne Eder, director of program services for the March of Dimes Maryland-National Capital Area Chapter. “We are proud of these physicians and nurses who tackle the issue of premature birth and established policies to discontinue scheduling deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary."

The most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today is premature birth. It affects more than 450,000 babies each year and is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. 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.

The March of Dimes offers professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full-term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy. More information is available at: marchofdimes.org/39weeks and Youtube.com.

About the March of Dimes

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Contact: Michele Murphy-Hedrick, (571) 257-2303, mmurphyhedrick@marchofdimes.org

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.