As San Diego birth injury lawyers, we are pleased by a new report that
the rate of early elective deliveries dropped for the third year in a
row, falling to less than five percent.
An early elective delivery is defined as a cesarean or induction delivery
that occurs before 39 weeks without medical justification. While scheduled
births may be more convenient for patients and doctors, delivering early
can lead to problems for both mother and baby. For instance, there is
an increased risk of birth injuries, continuing health problems, and even death.
Given the potential risks, medical experts recommend that infants should
not be born before 39 weeks, unless their health care provider considers
it medically necessary. This is because the brain, lungs, and other organs
are not completely developed until the last few weeks of gestation.
According to the
Leapfrog Group’s latest findings, healthcare facilities have made remarkable progress in
reducing the number of early elective deliveries. In 2013, 71 percent
of the reporting hospitals met Leapfrog’s early elective deliveries
target rate of less than five percent, compared to 46 percent of hospitals
in the 2012 survey.
“This is a remarkable reduction,” Edward McCabe, chief medical
officer at the March of Dimes, told the
Los Angeles Times. “It involves changing the culture of the hospital and that is always
very hard to do.”
While the rates of early elective deliveries varied widely among California
hospitals, the state ranked among the best in the country with a rate
of just three percent. By comparison, the average in 2010 was nearly 15 percent.