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Birth Center recognized for early elective delivery reduction success

RIVER FALLS, Wis. 05/22/2014

The Birth Center at River Falls Area Hospital has been recognized for its success in reducing early elective deliveries.

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 patients.

"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."

According 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.

About River Falls Area Hospital

River Falls Area Hospital, part of Allina Health, is a not-for-profit regional medical center committed to providing quality, comprehensive care to patients in western Wisconsin - from disease prevention to innovative diagnostic and treatment services for simple to complex medical conditions. The hospital provides a full range of inpatient, outpatient, cancer care and emergency care services.

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

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