CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (NBC) — Any mom can tell you the last few weeks of pregnancy can be tough and uncomfortable.
Scheduling an early C-section or induction has often been the answer once mom makes it to 37 of the typical 40-week gestation, but a recent push by the March of Dimes to have moms wait it out has made a big dent in early delivery rates.
By 2011, about one out of four births in the U.S. was an early, elective delivery.
“It’s in recent years that we’ve begun to learn that babies born in early term, 37 to 38 weeks, have a higher risk of disease and a higher risk of complication and a higher risk of death,” says Dr. Edward McCabe, medical director for the March of Dimes.
Historically, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended women wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver.
The group re-iterated that stance just this month after noting the high rate of non-medically indicated early deliveries.
The March of Dimes collaborated with 25 hospitals in five states with the most deliveries in an attempt to limit early births to those with a medical complication.
After one year early term births went down 83 percent in those hospitals.
“We saw we were actually moving babies and deliveries from early term to full term deliveries,” Dr. McCabe notes.
A few more weeks of uncomfortable waddling around was a no-brainer for most mothers who knew it was best for their baby.
Hospitals in New York, Florida, Illinois, California and Texas participated in the study.