Hospitals are making progress in reducing the number of early elective newborn deliveries, which can jeopardize an infant’s health, a new study finds.
Nearly 40 percent of 757 hospitals surveyed kept their early elective delivery rate to just 5 or less last year -- compared to 30 percent of reporting hospitals the year before, according to the hospital quality watchdog organization, The Leapfrog Group.
Health experts note that babies delivered before 39 weeks gestation – through a scheduled C-section or other methods -- can raise the risk of complications and costs of childbirth. Among them: respiratory problems, jaundice, infection, longer hospital stays and higher mortality.
Of those hospitals surveyed, 65 percent improved their performance, according to the report. On average, hospitals reported that 14 of their deliveries were early elective ones, down from 17 percent in 2010.
“This is extremely promising news. We are making a difference in the lives of women and newborns,” said Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder in a statement. “But there is still work to be done. We are seeing far too many newborns delivered early and without a medical reason, and there are still a number of hospitals who refuse to make this information public.”