Minnesota tells the stork: Take your time

[Star Tribune, November 16, 2010] Minnesota might become the first state in the nation to create a policy against a common practice in obstetrics: inducing childbirth early just for the convenience of doctors or mothers.

Mindful of research showing health problems with babies delivered early, the state Department of Human Services has proposed that hospitals create plans by 2012 for reducing elective inductions prior to 39 weeks gestation.

At week 38 of her pregnancy, Gina Jacobsen, a patient at Allina Parkview OB/GYB Clinic, is anxious to give birth to her second daughter. Inducing labor, though, wasn't a thought for the West St. Paul woman. "She can come whenever she wants," Jacobsen said, "as long as she comes soon!"

Minnesota hospitals vary widely in their induction rates, according to data from the Department of Health. Eight percent of the 4,138 babies born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis were induced in 2009, and only 2 percent were induced prior to 39 weeks gestation. By comparison, 38 percent of the 590 births at New River Medical Center in Monticello, Minn., were induced, and 10 percent were induced before 39 weeks.

Read the full story online at  startribune.com.

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