RIVER FALLS, Wis.
The Birth Center at River Falls Area Hospital has been
recognized for its success in reducing early elective
The March of Dimes and the Minnesota Hospital Association
(MHA) acknowledged the success at the Birth Center in
reducing to less than five percent the number of early
elective deliveries among patients giving birth at the
hospital over the past year. Early deliveries were defined as
those less than 39 weeks.
"Waiting until 39 weeks gestation helps brain, heart and lung
development and is the best way to minimize avoidable
complications," said Carrie Torgersen, MD,
maternal child medical director for River Falls Area
Hospital, part of Allina Health.
"Unless there is a medically-sound reason for doing so, the
physicians from River Falls Area Hospital and Medical Clinic
won't induce until 39 weeks or later. It's in the best
interest of the baby to wait."
Julie McGary, the manager of the River Falls Area Hospital Birth Center,
said the recognition from the March of Dimes and MHA was the
result of several years' work to reduce early elective
deliveries, focusing around education of both staff and
"We try to educate people on the importance of the baby
staying inside the mom as the best thing for them, unless
there are medical indications otherwise," said McGary. "We
have spent a couple of years now working on this."
to the March of Dimes, in the past two decades, the United
States has seen a 30 percent increase in preterm births
(prior to 37 weeks), reaching a high of 12.8 percent in 2006.
As a result, the March of Dimes launched its Healthy Babies
are Worth the Wait initiative, which highlights that staying
pregnant for at least 39 weeks gives a baby the best chance
he or she needs to grow before being born. In the last few
weeks of pregnancy, important stages of development occur,
including growth of the brain, lungs and liver, development
of eyes and ears, and the ability to suck and swallow.