MidState Medical Center is partnering with the March of Dimes to lower the number of babies born too soon at their hospital.
MidState is among a group of 100 hospitals nationwide selected by the March of Dimes to receive its Quality Improvement Service Package, which instructs the hospital in creating and implementing policies to reduce medically unnecessary (elective) inductions and cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
"We're proud to partner with the March of Dimes to give more babies a healthy start in life," said Rose Vitale, RN, nurse manager of MidState's Family Birthing Center. "And, we're proud of our expert team of physicians and the work they are doing to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy. At present the rate of elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation should be less than 5% (as determined by the Joint Commission and endorsed by the National Quality Forum). MidState's rate as of November 30, 2012, was less than 2%."
The service package is part the March of Dimes "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait" campaign. 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.
The March of Dimes Quality Improvement 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 occur during the last weeks of pregnancy.
Through the package, March of Dimes will support hospitals' efforts to implement the steps needed to reduce elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy. Included in the service package are action-oriented guidance, data collection tools, access to national quality improvement experts and providers, and other support services to maximize a hospital's success in attaining its quality improvement goals.