Efforts made to limit elective early birth deliveries

Programs are in place to cut down on early elective births of children, but Pennsylvania seems to be behind on this trend. Elective birth deliveries in Pennsylvania remain as high as 26.2 percent. It is felt that too many doctors are scheduling deliveries for as early as the 37th week.

The suggested guidelines are that we wait until at least the 39th week for delivery as this is deemed safer for both the baby and for the mother. When labor is medically induced, delivery by Cesarean section often also becomes necessary. By asking women to hold off until at least the 39th week Cesarean type deliveries have also been significantly reduced.

Without a strong medical reason (such as high blood pressure on the part of the mother), many larger hospitals are now discouraging earlier deliveries. Health-baby advocacy groups such as the March of Dimes are even providing financial incentives to hospitals that discourage early delivery without a specific medical reason, and that would provide education for mothers concerning the risks of early delivery.

Unfortunately, birth injuries can be some of the most serious kinds of medical injuries. For parents that believe poor advice from a doctor led to such an injury, they may wish to speak to a medical malpractice attorney concerning their options.

As in anything else, there is a balancing when it comes to avoiding birth injuries. Though too early delivery presents dangers, so also will failing to induce labor once a pregnancy goes past its 40th week.

Doctors cannot afford to take risks with patients – even when patients want a procedure done out of convenience. When risks are taken, there is a greater chance that malpractice type situations will arise.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Progress in Effort to Cut Elective Baby Deliveries,” by Laura Landro, April 8, 2013