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March of Dimes recognizes Methodist Health for its work to give more babies a healthy start in life

blog imageMethodist Health has been recognized by the March of Dimes for reducing the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized the problem of unnecessary early deliveries and that they have been proactive in putting policies in place to avoid scheduling Cesarean-sections or inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Gary R. Colberg, FACHE, President and CEO at Methodist Health.

Brenda Hester, RNC, Director of Maternal Child Services at Methodist Health, noted, “Elective delivery before 39 weeks, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, should not be done unless medically indicated. Babies born too early risk having breathing problems, temperature control problems, feeding difficulty, high levels of bilirubin, hearing and vision problems as well as learning and behavior problems. We want babies to be born healthy without these complications.”

“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 Edward R.B. McCabe, MD, PhD, March of Dimes Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “We commend Methodist Health for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants, according to McCabe. 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. Babies who survive an early birth often face lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.

Melanie Moch, Director of Data Collection and Training at the Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA), presented a banner to Methodist Health in recognition of the high level of success achieved in reducing early elective deliveries. “Methodist Health has been an active participant in the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) project initiated in 2012. KHA partnered with the March of Dimes during the project, which aligned with its ‘Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait’ campaign.” It urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 weeks.

“We applaud Methodist Health’s commitment to the best care possible for moms and babies.”

For questions regarding this press release, please contact Brandi L. Schwartz at 270-831-7836 or bschwartz@methodisthospital.net.