By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Eastside Medical Center recognized for reduction in early births

Snellville, Ga. – Eastside Medical Center has been recognized by March of Dimes Georgia for reducing the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 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 nurses and physicians who recognized this problem in our community and put policies into place to avoid scheduling early elective inductions or cesarean deliveries, except when medically necessary,” Penny Montgomery, director of women’s services at Eastside, said.

This quality improvement program, sponsored by the March of Dimes, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Hospital Association, and Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, asks all obstetric hospitals in Georgia to sign a pledge to implement firm policies to reduce early elective deliveries and support ongoing efforts to reduce Georgia’s infant mortality rate. 

“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 Eastside 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 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 Obstetrics 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 delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. For more information, visit marchofdimes.com/39weeks.

To learn more about maternity services at Eastside Medical, visit eastsidemedical.com/baby.