Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas received accolades today from the Arkansas Hospital Association, and the March of Dimes for reducing the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy except when medically necessary.
“One of the happiest places in our hospital is the fifth floor, where we have the privilege of delivering new babies every day,” said Eric Pianalto, Mercy Hospital president. “We want to take every step possible to give moms and dads a healthy start with their newborn, which is why this is an important honor. It speaks directly to our commitment to parents that we are always focused on bringing the best medical advice and care for their little one. A big congratulation goes to our women and children’s team, our quality control department and our doctors for this achievement.”
For the past two years, the Arkansas Hospital Association and the March of Dimes have partnered to urge women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy. Today, the organizations presented Mercy with a banner signifying its dedication to reducing early elective deliveries. It’s an accomplishment the March of Dimes says will give more babies a healthy start in life.
“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 Scott Berns, MD, MPH, senior vice president and deputy medical director for the March of Dimes. “I commend Mercy for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”
Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait.” The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.
Quick Facts From March of Dimes
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.