“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 Lori Reeves for March of Dimes. “I commend IHA and Logansport Memorial Hospital 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, March of Dimes has been getting the word out that “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait.”
“We are very proud to have been part of this effort. It has truly been a team-approach made by our dedicated OB/GYNs and caring staff in the Family Birth Center,” comments Jeanette Huntoon, Chief Executive Nurse for Logansport Memorial Hospital. “We want our new moms and babies to be as healthy as they can be, and to be provided with the highest quality of care while they’re with us for their journey through pregnancy to parenthood. We know that encouraging and helping them to wait as part of this campaign and initiative is what will ultimately be best for them and for their baby. We wouldn’t participate if we didn’t wholeheartedly believe that,” she says.
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. In Indiana, IHA and the March of Dimes Indiana Chapter have partnered to improve the quality of birth outcomes statewide, including the effort successfully completed by Logansport Memorial Hospital.
Logansport Memorial Hospital is an 83-bed, HFAP accredited, regional medical center providing healthcare services to residents in Cass County and the surrounding areas of north central Indiana.
March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. 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.
Indiana Hospital Association is a non-profit organization that serves as the professional trade association for 164 Hoosier hospitals. These members are either independent or a member of one of the 23 systems in the state. Membership includes hospitals, multi-hospital systems and community mental health centers. The mission of the IHA is to provide leadership, representation and services in the common best interests of its members as they promote the improvement of community health status. IHA’s primary responsibility is to represent the interests of hospitals in matters of public policy. IHA also provides members with education, communications and data collection services.