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Indiana Mothers Reducing Early Elective Deliveries

Health groups say carrying a child to the full-term of 39 weeks significantly reduces the risk of infant mortality.

ultrasound

Photo: Danny Yee (flickr)

A doctor looks at an ultrasound.

Fewer mothers in Indiana are opting for early elective deliveries for their babies.

The Indiana State Department of Health announced this week elective deliveries before 39 weeks have decreased from 11 percent in 2012 to less than 3 percent in 2013.

The state Department of Health and the Indiana Hospital Association have been working together to decrease the rate of early deliveries without a valid medical reason.

Most hospitals in the state have even gone as far as to implement a “hard stop” policy where physicians have to document a procedure any time a pregnancy is induced because of the potential adverse health risks for both the infant and mother.

Indiana State Health Commissioner William VanNess says the state’s efforts are part of larger strategy aimed at reducing Indiana’s high infant mortality rate of 7 point 7 deaths per one thousand births.

“You really want a baby to be as full term as possible because it helps improve all the physiology in the body, in the lungs – it helps them survive,” VanNess says.

He says many organizations including the March of Dimes and The Indiana Perinatal Network have helped reduced the number through education, saying that even inducing pregnancy in the 36th or 37th week can increase chances for infant mortality.

Jimmy Jenkins

Jimmy Jenkins is a multimedia journalist for WFIU and WTIU news. A native of Terre Haute, he is a masters student at the Indiana University School of Journalism and is proud to be a part of the public broadcasting stations he listened to and watched since he was a child. Follow him on Twitter @newsjunkyjimmy.

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