Great Bend Regional Hospital has reduced the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy, earning the attention of the March of Dimes.
“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized the problem of unnecessary early deliveries in our hospital, and put in place policies to avoid scheduling C-sections or inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Kerry Noble, chief executive officer.
Great Bend Regional Hospital has policies that encourage healthy deliveries and post-delivery care and promote breastfeeding, which is why it is one of only 29 hospitals in the state to be named a High Five for Mom & Baby hospital. It has also been designated a Blue Distinction Plus hospital for maternity care by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas.
“Our nurses in the Women & Children’s Center go above and beyond to keep mom and baby healthy during delivery, and the staff at the Heartland Regional Health Clinic that provide the prenatal care know the importance of carrying full term whenever possible,” Noble said. “Our hospital delivers between 30 and 40 babies per month to parents all over central and southwest Kansas, and we do everything we can to promote full-term deliveries.”
Paul E. Jarris, MD MBA, senior vice president and chief medical officer for the March of Dimes, noted that 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,” Jarris said. “We commend Great Bend Regional Hospital for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”
Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants, according to the March of Dimes. 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. Babies who survive an early birth often face lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.
For the latest resources and information online, visit marchofdimes.org.