Hospitals in Oregon have taken steps to cut back on the trend of inducing early birth for non-medical reasons.
Called "Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait," the program aims to curb a practice in which more mothers appear to be giving birth earlier than 39 weeks for reasons other than medical necessity, either through labor-inducing drugs or an elective cesarean delivery. Experts have long encouraged parents to wait 39 weeks before giving birth to avoid risks that include reduced brain function, lung problems or an increased infant mortality rate.
Now, rather than encouraging patients, hospitals in Portland and elsewhere in the state have embraced a "hard stop." They have stopped scheduling early deliveries unless a medical reason is given. And initial numbers suggest it may be having an effect.
In Oregon, the late preterm birth rate dropped from 9.9 percent in 2010 to 9.1 percent in 2011, second only to Vermont in rate of decline, according to the March of Dimes.
Read more at OregonLive.com.