Since 2010, Overlake Labor and Delivery has been working with Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Washington State Hospital Association and the March of Dimes to eliminate elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation. This does not include mothers who go into labor on their own, or those requiring that their babies be delivered early for medical reasons.
Why do babies need 39 weeks in utero?
- They get all the needed time to develop important organs such as brain, lungs, and liver.
- The earlier babies are delivered, the more at risk they are for vision and hearing problems. Babies are often smaller prior to 39 weeks and have a harder time staying warm.
- Babies born too early sometimes have difficulty with sucking and swallowing as well as staying awake long enough to finish a feeding.
We have made great strides in reducing our rate by almost 30%. For this work we have received recognition from both the Washington State Department of Health and the March of Dimes.