“The last weeks of pregnancy are important,” said Victor A. Garcia, MSM, division director, Northwest Indiana Division March of Dimes. “Babies aren’t just putting on weight; they are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs. I commend IHA and the hospitals of Community Healthcare System for being champions for babies with their quality improvement effort,” he said.
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.
Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, March of Dimes has been getting the word out 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. In Indiana, IHA and the March of Dimes Indiana Chapter have partnered to improve the quality of birth outcomes statewide, including the effort successfully completed by the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. Find out more about the quality care provided at our Family Birthing Centers by visiting our hospitals' Services web pages.