Louisiana, one of 13 states to receive an F on the 2010 March of Dimes Prematurity Report Card, has announced an initiative to end elective births before 39 weeks of pregnancy. Louisiana ranks 49th in the nation for infant mortality and preterm birth, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The state also has the second highest c-section rate in the country.
Twenty Lousiana hospitals are participating in the 39-Week Initiative aimed at preventing preterm birth and improving the birth outcomes of Lousiana babies.
Judy Robichaux, director of Women's and Children's Services at Lafayette General Medical Center, told the Shreveport Times that half the women giving birth at her hospital would like to deliver their babies early. She added that her hospital has seen a big decrease in elective births since joining the initiative. Only 4 mothers chose to deliver early in the past three months after being informed of the risks, compared to 18 to 20 moms who had early deliveries in January and February, before they started the initiative.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein disappointed with his state’s poor statistics said, "I was genuinely shocked to learn how many births were being done early that weren't medically necessary. Too many doctors and too many women just don't fully understand the risks, even in a healthy pregnancy.”
The March of Dimes also has a campaign aimed at ending elective inductions before thirty nine weeks called Health Babies are Worth the Wait.
For more on the Louisiana initiative see: