St. Joseph’s Hospital-South Recognized for Reducing Early Elective Deliveries

May 20, 2016

St. Joseph’s Hospital-South was honored by the March of Dimes and the Florida District (District XII) of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for reducing the number of early elective inductions and cesarean deliveries with a special recognition banner. The hospital recently met the criteria to qualify for this distinction, which includes achieving a rate for elective deliveries before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy of 5 percent or lower and that they have policies in place to prevent such deliveries. 

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who tackled this issue in our community and established policies to avoid scheduling deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Scott Smith, president of St. Joseph’s Hospital-South. 

“We are delighted to present this commemorative banner to St. Joseph’s Hospital-South for adhering to standards that directly benefit the health of babies,” said Dr. Karen Harris, chair of the Program Services Committee for the March of Dimes Florida Chapter. “The last few weeks of pregnancy are extremely important for the baby’s brain and lung development, among other organs, so we want to commend this momentous achievement.” 

March of Dimes and ACOG District XII have also worked with the Florida Hospital Association, the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative and other partners to provide resources and support to hospitals across the state. 

“Studies have shown that deliveries that are scheduled for convenience or other non-medical reasons may increase harm to infants, increase health care costs, and worsen medical outcomes,” said Dr. Robert Yelverton, chair of ACOG District XII. “We are extremely pleased with St. Joseph’s Hospital-South participation.” 

Reducing early elective deliveries and improving the health of moms and babies is just one of the key focus areas of the March of Dimes and their “Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait” campaign. In an average week in Florida 562 babies are born preterm and 27 die before their first birthday, many times as a result of their early births. Early elective deliveries can cause lifelong health challenges for the baby, including breathing difficulty, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.