Monday, January 17, 2011

Illinois Hospital Bans Elective Deliveries Before 39 Weeks

Edward Hospital in Naperville is one of six Illinois medical centers chosen to be part of a March of Dimes pilot program calling for a halt to elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

According to hospital officials, a critical part of the success of this program is patient education.  In the article that appeared in the Beacon News on January 15, "As our culture shifted toward a more relaxed attitude about delivering early, it was apparent education was needed by both patients and medical staffs."

The obvious solution to the patient education need is childbirth education!  However, the education for medical staff may be a little more tricky.  Due to the limited OB curricula in nursing schools and residency programs, few nurses or physicians are trained (and therefore skilled in) the art of supporting women through what is known as physiologic birth.  Physiologic birth, formerly known as natural childbirth or normal birth, involves honoring the mechanics and hormonal responses of the body for birth, limiting interventions and medications, and enhancing the physiologic/mind/spiritual link between mother and baby.  Even though the number of interventions in childbirth has increased exponentially in the past decade in the U.S., the U.S. maternal and infant mobidity/mortality has NOT improved; rather those statistics have gotten progressively worse.  It becomes clear that an increase in intervention during childbirth does NOT improve outcomes.

Some call this hands off method of childbirth the midwifery model of care.  Rather than label it and cause a riff in the maternity profession, call it what it is....physiologic birth.  Stop quibbling.  And honor physiologic birth for reducing the admissions of near-term/preterm infants into the NICUs.

The article goes on to make these points:
"Based on data, hospitals participating in the 2011 March of Dimes project can expect to reduce pre-term births and admissions to the NICU by 15 to 20 percent, Crouse said. That is significant from both a health and cost perspective. The typical hospital bill for a full-term baby is about $2,000, he added. That can be 10 times higher when a baby is in the NICU."
We applaud all of the hospitals who are joining with the March of Dimes in this endeavor!  Seventeen Illinois hospitals applied to be part of the March of Dimes program. Others that were selected are Decatur Memorial Hospital, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, St. Joseph Hospital in Breese, Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon and the University of Illinois Hospital at Chicago. Also participating are five hospitals in California, Texas, New York and Florida.

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