Phoebe supports full term delivery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe supports full term delivery

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Phoebe Putney Hospital officials say they support a move to steer pregnant women and doctors away from some early deliveries.

State officials plan to eliminate Medicaid payments for elective C-sections and induced deliveries before 39 weeks. The move is expected to save $7 million.

Officials at Phoebe say only a small percentage of babies are born before 39 weeks at their hospital on an elective basis because spending a full term in the womb is better for the baby.

"In the concept of paying for things that matter and not paying for things that might cause harm we think it's important for the pairs to say listen we think this is an unsafe practice and we won't cover it. So as they move towards that we are willing to embrace that," said Phoebe VP Dr. Doug Patten.

While in some cases it's better for the baby to be delivered early, those last few weeks of development are critical.

Expert say If a doctor suggests an early birth, be sure to get a good explanation of why before you agree.