Early elective births are becoming a thing of the past on the Peninsula. Rates have plummeted since 2008, when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG, issued a recommendation that women should wait until the 39th week of completed pregnancy before opting for delivery. This year's report from the Leapfrog Group, a hospital watchdog group, shows local hospitals achieving well below the 13 percent average in Virginia and the group's 5 percent target rate.
Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in
At one time, babies were believed to be full term once they reached 36 weeks. Now, it's known that critical brain, lung and liver development occurs after that. Leapfrog's report estimates the additional costs for neonatal care from too-early elective deliveries amounts to $1 billion annually. The March of Dimes, ACOG and the