Saint Mary’s Regional Health System has been recognized by the March of Dimes for having zero elective inductions and scheduled caesarean deliveries before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. This will give more babies a healthy start in life, the March of Dimes says.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized the importance of full term gestation and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary” said Donnie Frederic, Saint Mary’s CEO.

“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. ” says Scott Berns, MD, MPH, senior vice president and deputy medical director for the March of Dimes. “I commend Saint Mary’s for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births.  Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that 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.

Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait”  The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling elective delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

The March of Dimes offers professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy.

Presenting Saint Mary’s Regional Health System a banner recognizing the hospital on behalf of March of Dimes: Pam Brown, RN, VP of Quality and Patient Safety for Arkansas Hospital Association; Sherry McClure, RN Nurse Director, Saint Mary’s Women’s and Children’s Department; Saint Mary’s Chief Nursing Officer Pat Torrico, RN; Tina Long, March of Dimes; Donnie Frederic, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer, Saint Mary’s Regional Health System. Pamela Brown, RN BSN CPHQ