Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms
by the #s
Minimum number of weeks a baby requires in the womb to develop fully1
A baby’s brain at 35 weeks weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 40 weeks1
Percentage of deliveries that occur too early in Illinois in 20112
Elective delivery adds 17 percent to normal delivery costs3
Labor induction rates show an almost 100 percent increase since 19903
Evidence says babies that can go to term, should go to term.
Babies require at least 39 weeks in the womb. Babies born before this milestone are more likely to have problems with learning, behavior, feeding, and breathing. They are more likely to spend time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Many mothers and providers are opting to conveniently schedule induction or C-section prior to 39 weeks. Recent years have seen an early elective baby boom, with some hospitals reporting 40 percent of deliveries scheduled too early for no medical reason.
How is that possible?
There are many reasons why a mother might choose to time her delivery prior to the 39th week – to ensure the father is present before deployment, accommodate busy family or her provider of choice, or even guarantee a unique birthday such as 12-12-12. Mothers need to learn the consequences of these decisions from their doctors, who also require education.
Financial incentives for the provider play a role as well. The doctor needs to be present to get paid.
The trend is also fed by a misconception among mothers and providers that scheduling is cost effective, when in truth, early delivery is associated with more complications, and therefore greater cost, than spontaneous delivery.
What is Quality Quest doing?
Quest’s Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms team is working toward the elimination of elective preterm deliveries. Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms has formally ended as a Quest-specific project. A statewide steering committee will continue work under the Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms name.
The statewide steering committee is a collaboration of several organizations across the state to address legislation, education, and policy. Quest will likely lend its public reporting expertise to the effort.
For more information, check out Quest blog posts on the topic:
- Project to eliminate early elective deliveries transitions into statewide effort
- Maureen Corry of Childbirth Connection says healthy babies are worth the wait
- “Savor of Mothers” reminds us to learn from history, honor best evidence and eliminate early elective deliveries
- Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms team launches
Where can I find more information?
Resources for Consumers:
Resources for Providers and Insurers: