March of Dimes makes '39 Weeks' award to Phoebe

March of Dimes makes '39 Weeks' award to Phoebe

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center have been awarded Georgia's '39 Weeks' recognition banner for reducing the number of labor inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

This will give more babies a healthy start in life, the March of Dimes says.

The March of Dimes teamed up with the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Hospital Association, and Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, to ask hospitals that deliver babies to reduce early elective deliveries, which will reduce Georgia's infant mortality rate.

These hospitals do not induce labor or perform cesarean sections before 39 weeks gestation without a medical reason.

In order to receive banner recognition, hospitals have to have clear policies in place to prevent early elective deliveries, plus demonstrate data that shows their rate is 5% or less.

“We're proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized this problem in our communities and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or cesarean deliveries before

, except when medically necessary” said Tracy Morgan, Vice President of Women's and Children's Services.

“The pledge is a testament to the commitment of Georgia's birthing hospitals and health care providers to promote healthier pregnancies and babies in our state,” said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health and State Health Officer. “Through the March of Dimes' banner program, we will continue the important work of reducing prematurity by avoiding early elective deliveries– allowing babies the best shot at life and good health, by allowing their little bodies and organs to fully develop before coming into the world.”

“The last weeks of pregnancy are important. Babies aren't just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs. ” says Scott Berns, MD, MPH, senior vice president and deputy medical director for the March of Dimes. “I commend Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital also offers a state-of-the-art NICU that serves 22 counties in the region and is one of only six state designated perinatal centers. On Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's Campus (Albany) on the pediatric floor, pediatric hospitalists are available 24/7.

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