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Grand Itasca Recognized Consecutive Years For Its Work To Reduce Elective Early Deliveries

8/4/2015

Grand Rapids, MN – For the second consecutive year, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital has been recognized for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. March of Dimes, a leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full term (39 to 41 weeks completed gestation) are at increased risk of serious health problems in their first year of life.

 

Grand Rapids, MN – For the second consecutive year, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital has been recognized for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. March of Dimes, a leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full term (39 to 41 weeks completed gestation) are at increased risk of serious health problems in their first year of life.

As Chair of the Grand Itasca Obstetrics Committee, Dr. Derek Beyer, OB/Gyn, worked to incorporate standards from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics and March of Dimes into Grand Itasca’s induction and cesarean delivery scheduling process.

According to Joyce Werhand, RN, Nurse Manager of the Women’s Health and Birth Center, “this process now involves clearly defined criteria that are required to be met before an elective delivery can be scheduled. If they are not met, the delivery is not scheduled. This has significantly reduced the number of elective deliveries after 39 weeks.”

Thanks to these efforts, there were zero elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation at Grand Itasca in 2014. 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.

“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 Lawrence Massa, March of Dimes Board Member and Minnesota Hospital Association President and CEO. “I commend Grand Itasca for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

In partnership with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting the word out 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.

In Minnesota, March of Dimes worked with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and hospitals around the state to adopt policies against medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks.  This change went into effect in January 2012. Since then, Minnesota Hospital Association numbers show the number of early elective deliveries has decreased by 92 percent.

About Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital
Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital is a non-profit, integrated clinic and hospital that employs over 600 people, including over 60 medical staff providing primary care such as Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Internal Medicine and Family Medicine in addition to specialty care such as Oncology, Cardiology, Orthopedics and Urology.

About Minnesota Hospital Association
The Minnesota Hospital Association represents 144 hospitals and health systems, which employ more than 113,000 people, provide quality care for patients and meet the needs of our communities.

About the March of Dimes
The 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.

Pictured with the March of Dimes and Minnesota Hospital Association recognition banner are Dr. Derek
Beyer, OB/Gyn, Joyce Werhand, RN, Nurse Manager of the Women’s Health and Birth Center, and
Dr. Kevin Gildner, OB/Gyn.

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