MARCH OF DIMES RECOGNIZES GRANITE FALLS HOSPITAL FOR ITS WORK TO GIVE MORE BABIES A HEALTHY START IN LIFE
Definition of language used in this news release:
- Early term birth: 37-38 completed weeks gestation;
- Full-term birth: refers to 39 to 41 weeks completed gestation;
- Preterm or premature birth: before 37 completed weeks gestation;
Granite Falls Hospital has been recognized for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. March of Dimes says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.
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 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. ” says Lawrence Massa, March of Dimes Board Member and Minnesota Hospital Association President and CEO. “I commend Granite Falls Hospital for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”
In partnership with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word 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 Minnesota, March of Dimes worked with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and hospitals to adopt policies against medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks. This change went into effect in January 2012. Minnesota Hospital Association numbers show the number of early elective deliveries has decreased by 92 percent.
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.com/39weeks.