Hospital cradles March of Dimes initiative for healthier babies
[May 03 2013] -
The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) is cradling an initiative with the March of Dimes and other area hospitals that reinforces the importance and value of babies being delivered at full-term, namely 39 weeks.
Through the March of Dimes' 39 + Weeks Quality Improvement Service Package, HOCC is boosting its efforts to track delivery dates and help increase the value of full-term delivery through patient and staff education.
The initiative complements the hospital's ongoing efforts toward full-term deliveries, says obstetrician/gynecologist Christopher Morosky, M.D., director of HOCC's Outpatient Women's Health Clinics. "We had that revelation and understanding years ago. By doing this with the March of Dimes we are formally re-establishing our commitment to this goal," he says.
Other Hartford HealthCare system entities that are part of the March of Dimes quality improvement initiative are Hartford Hospital and MidState Medical Center.
With the 39 + Weeks program, HOCC's Ferdinand Sauer, M.D. Family BirthPlace is collecting delivery data from March 1, 2013 to March 1, 2014, and emphasizing patient and staff education through webinars and speakers.
Family BirthPlace already offers childbirth, newborn and sibling classes. Historically, HOCC staff members have also supported the March of Dimes program, which focuses on improving babies' health, through its March for Babies events.
On the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth Report Card Connecticut received a "B" grade. The organization has its 2020 goal for preterm birth rate at 9.6 percent; for 2012, Connecticut was at 10.1 percent.
Nationally, the preterm birth rate is 10 to 12 percent, says Morosky, who notes preterm deliveries often result from the baby's or mother's condition, such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure).
Delivering at full-term, Morosky says, allows for the natural onset of labor, which decreases medical interventions such as labor induction or assistance or need for Caesarean section. The hospital has an ongoing medical review process for patients being scheduled for deliveries before 39 weeks. If an early term induction is not medically indicated, delivery is not scheduled before 39 weeks.
"Not every baby born at 37 or 38 weeks has problems, but the risk of problems is greater at 37 or 38 weeks," says Scott Weiner, M.D., a neonatologist and director of the HOCC's nurseries. Risks include respiratory distress, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), jaundice, and difficulty feeding.
Pregnancy to term is also important for development of the baby's brain, says Carolyn Rossi, R.N., clinical manager of the nurseries, noting a big difference between the brain of a 35-week baby and a 39-week baby.
"About 20 percent of infants require special services beyond routine newborn care, many of which require admission to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit," says Weiner. About 400 babies are admitted annually to HOCC's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
For his own patients, Morosky establishes a due date with patients at their first prenatal visit and explains that if the pregnancy is without complications, it is safe and natural to go to the due date and occasionally beyond."
"I think there's already been a good focus by our hospital to decrease early elective inductions," says Morosky. "Engaging in a project with the March of Dimes will help get the message out better to our patients."