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Risks of early delivery

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Risks of early delivery

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premature delivery, early delivery without medical necessityDon’t rush to delivery. That is the message to expectant parents as a result of a recent study of hospitals and known benefits of not delivering before the 39th week of pregnancy. Given that there are some medical indications for earlier delivery, Leapfrog Group established a patient safety goal of only 12% of deliveries occurring before the 39th week. Important development changes take place in the fetus’ brain and lungs during these last weeks of gestation.

Of the 773 hospitals who responded to a request to supply data about their delivery rates, numbers varied widely. More than half reported rates higher than 12%, with some having as high as 60%. Some hospitals declined to respond, leading one to wonder if they did not keep statistics, or their performance was poor on this indicator.

This kind of information is pointing to the standard of care being defined as discouraging early delivery without medical indication. Consider the risks to the fetus and to the mother when labor is induced or a cesarean section performed to meet the convenience factor.

A short-term convenience for the mother or the obstetrician may result in long-term complications when the fetus is between 37-39 weeks. The baby may not developmentally ready. Cesarean sections carry the risk of bleeding, perforation of surrounding organs, anesthesia complications, need for repeat cesarean sections, and more. Increasingly, hospitals should be putting pressure on their obstetricians to not participate in early deliveries without medical necessity. And patients should be educated about the risks.

See another perspective on this issue at this link. Pressure tightens to hold off premature deliveries.

Med League is a legal nurse consulting firm that assists attorneys handling cases involving medical negligence, personal injury and other litigation with medical issues at stake.

Read more.

Find out what rate a hospital reported- or didn’t.

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