39 Weeks Program
St. Mary's Hospital and Regional Medical Center partners with March of Dimes to give babies a healthy start in life
St. Mary’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center is partnering with the March of Dimes to lower the number of babies born too soon.
St. Mary’s is among 100 hospitals nationwide currently working with the March of Dimes in implementing the “39+ Weeks Quality Improvement Service Package” which helps hospitals develop and implement policies and procedures to reduce medically unnecessary (elective) inductions and cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
“Every week of pregnancy is important to a baby’s health,” says Scott Berns, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Deputy Medical Director for the March of Dimes. “I commend St. Mary’s for being a champion for babies. Through this partnership, we will reduce the number of early elective deliveries and help give more babies a healthy start in life.”
Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others. Even 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.
“We’re proud to partner with the March of Dimes to give more babies a healthy start in life,” said Geri Tamborelli, Women’s and Children’s Services director. “And, we’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses and the work they are doing to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.”
The quality improvement service package is part of the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®” campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of a full-term pregnancy and also is being backed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists through a new federal program called “Strong Start.”
The service package includes 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 occurs during the last weeks of pregnancy. Included in the service package are data collection tools, information on organizing grand round presentations, access to national quality improvement experts and providers, and other support services.
More information is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6XcWBcaliA and marchofdimes.com/39weeks.