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healthy pregnancy


Early, Elective Deliveries


Avoiding (


THIS HOSPITAL WATCHDOG LETS YOU LEARN WHERE YOU COULD BE AT


INCREASED RISK FOR BIRTHING EARLY BY CAROLYN DAVIS COCKEY, MLS


)


Could where you plan to birth put you and baby at risk for delivering early, even risking prematurity for baby? It could, if you’re planning to birth in a hospital or facility that doesn’t restrict early, elective births—especially before 39 weeks.


Birthing the way nature intended is healthy best for most pregnant women. No doubt if you’re reading Healthy Mom&Baby you’ve likely seen the “Don’t Rush Me . . . Go the Full 40” weeks of pregnancy campaign (GoTeFull40.com) from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the nursing association that produces this magazine. At the heart of this effort is advice and encouragement from experts to help you know why it’s healthy best to let your pregnancy go full term, to wait for your labor to naturally start on its own, and to have a normal, vaginal birth when all is well. Allowing your pregnancy to go full term is best


Hospitals are reducing early, elective deliveries thanks to the efforts of watchdog groups including The Leapfrog Group, says CEO Leah Binder. By publishing early, elective birth rates, Leapfrog is forcing hospitals to reconsider their policies and practices, and helping pregnant women find mom and baby-friendly places to birth.


for your health. While being done with pregnancy may seem tempting, especially during those last few weeks, inducing labor is associated with increased risks including prematurity, cesarean surgery, hemorrhage and infection. Non-medically related choices—called “elective”—


include inducing labor without cause, as well as birthing via cesarean without a medical reason for surgical delivery. When these choices are made without cause before your pregnancy is term, they’re called “elective, early deliveries.” Tey’re also called “dangerous” for the many immediate and life-long risks documented in research for both you and your baby.


32 health4mom.org


KNOW YOUR HOSPITAL’S NUMBERS One


group that’s trying


to drive down these


interventions by reporting elective, early birth practices at hospitals is the hospital quality watchdog, Te Leapfrog Group. Trough a voluntary annual hospital survey, Leapfrog reports elective, early delivery rates at www.LeapfrogGroup.org. When we spoke with Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder, she explained why she’s celebrating recent declines in early, elective interventions across the country, and why there’s still more work needed.


Your baby needs a full 40


weeks of pregnancy to grow and develop.


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