For childbirth, patience is a virtue and health benefit

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After first learning of the adverse health outcomes associated with early elective Cesarean sections, we were pleased to hear that some OBGYNS put their foot down on such procedures. Now, we would also like to applaud Oregon, which is the latest state where some hospitals are refusing to perform elective, non-medically necessary inductions and C-sections prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes Oregon chapter, 17 hospitals have agreed to put a hard stop to these procedures since a 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that an alarming one-third of C-sections are done before 39 weeks too often with detrimental results.

Thirty-nine to 40 weeks is the gold standard, says Michele Larsen, the March of Dimes Oregon chapter communications director. Babies born from 37 to 39 weeks have an increased risk of respiratory problems, jaundice, feeding problems, temperature instability, and a greater risk of hospital readmission for poor weight gain or failure to thrive.

Based on recent studies demonstrating the detrimental health effects that even just two weeks of early elective delivery may have on fetal health and neonatal outcome, we applaud hospitals that discourage this needless risk, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross.