The prospect of having your baby arrive before his due date can send some mums-to-be into a blind panic as they carry out last minute preparations for their new arrival. However, in some US hospitals, early delivery – either via a planned induction or caesarean – is increasingly common and widespread, reports the Wall Street Journal health blog.
According to a new report published this month, in some US hospitals upwards of 40% of babies are deliberately born early (before 39 weeks) and costs the healthcare system around USD$1 billion per year.
Whilst some of these planned early births are carried out in the best interests of the mum and baby, in the majority of the cases there’s no actual medical justification for early intervention. For some mums, knowing that your baby will definitely be born in a certain time period does offer some benefits around planning and convenience, but early deliveries are not without serious health risks. As well as physical health issues, there’s an increased chance of special educational needs for children born too early, whereas mums can develop conditions such as hypertension. And it’s these risks that the Leapfrog Group, who put out the report, along with two others, the Childbirth Connection and the March of Dimes, are trying to educate mums.
Transparency and being well-informed, it seems, is the key towards lowering figures as mums-to-be are advised to check the delivery records for their hospital.