POINT PLEASANT — Anyone who has ever been pregnant probably understands the feeling of wanting it to be over toward the end, and for many mothers, elective births look very tempting — unfortunately, elective births can have adverse health effects.
Pleasant Valley Hospital has been actively attempting to reduce the number of elective births for this reason and has been recognized by the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership (WVPP) for its participation in the First Baby Initiative.
This month, members of the Obstetrics Department at Pleasant Valley Hospital, along with Michael Corbin, M.D., OB-GYN, were honored with an award at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston. The award was presented for their efforts to improve the health of mothers and babies by reducing the rate of labor inductions, or elective births, before full term (39 weeks) for first-time mothers and 41 weeks for all mothers. Babies born before they are full term have added physical stresses, reduced ability to feed effectively and sometimes require neonatal intensive care to help breathe. Elective births are those where the mother’s labor has been induced when there is no medical condition to warrant the procedure.
Denise Queen, Obstetrics and Pediatrics Nurse manager, said elective births have significantly decreased since PVH began participating in the First Baby Initiative. Queen cautioned that when mothers get a due date, it could be two weeks ahead or behind which means an elective birth could be depriving a baby of much needed time to continue to develop.
Labor inductions and Cesarean sections (C-sections) have increased dramatically in the United States over the past two decades. Between 1990 and 2010, the rate of labor induction has more than doubled. There is a concern that many of these inductions and C-sections are not medically necessary and may be resulting in avoidable negative birth outcomes for babies and mothers.
In response to these facts, 14 West Virginia hospitals including PVH and Cabell Huntington Hospital participated in a collaborative quality initiative to eliminate non-medically indicated elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation.
The rate of non-medically elective births immediately began dropping and within 6 months had decreased by over 50 percent. The rate continued to decrease through 2010. According to PVH, “this demonstrates that we can make important progress toward better mother and baby care by working together as a Partnership.”
“The Obstetrics staff at Pleasant Valley Hospital has a main concern of the welfare of the baby and mother. A lot of hard work has gone into the implementation of this initiative and we are proud to see positive outcomes,” Queen said.
Corbin explained that waiting to give birth in otherwise healthy pregnancies means a lower risk of complications.
“Everyone wants that perfect baby,” Corbin said.
In short, good things come to those who wait. Waiting is also about putting the future of the patients, both mother and child, first — and after all, it is all about the patients.
“We work hard here,” Corbin said of the staff at PVH. “We give personal care and work hard for our patients.”