TN hospitals reduce early elective births 75% in seven months
Hospitals participating in the "Healthy Tennessee Babies are Worth the Wait" partnership reduced preventable early elective deliveries by 75% over seven months, to 3.5% of all births, according to data released recently by the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA).
At the end of May 2012, preventable early deliveries at 37 Tennessee hospitals that provide labor and delivery services accounted for 14% of all deliveries. By the end of the year, that number had dropped to just 3.5% of all births, according to data reported by the hospitals.
The hospitals were participating in Healthy Tennessee Babies are Worth the Wait, a partnership launched last year by the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety, Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, Tennessee Department of Health, March of Dimes, and the THA, which helps improve awareness about the benefits of full-term delivery among expecting parents, their families, health providers, and organizations that serve pregnant women.
Evidence shows babies carried 39 weeks and beyond are healthier and at lower risk for developmental complications, says David Adair, MD, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Erlanger Medical Center-Baroness Hospital in Chattanooga, which participates in the program.
"Early elective deliveries are associated with increased maternal and neonatal complications for both mothers and newborns, compared to deliveries occurring beyond 39 weeks," Adair says. "There is a great deal of evidence that documents the upside of going full-term if that is possible without endangering the health of the mother or child. Studies suggest that in addition to being at a decreased risk of death, babies that stay in the womb 39 weeks or longer can feed, digest, and breathe better."