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California Watch Examines Early "Elective" Births

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By Jill


California Watch, who reported in February that California’s rate of women dying directly from causes related to childbirth has doubled since 1996 and broke the story in September that California women are more likely to be sectioned at for-profit hospitals, has turned its sights on early “elective” births.

In his article published today, journalist Nathanael Johnson interviewed experts and mothers throughout the state to provide a snapshot of the public health crisis of unnecessary early births and the efforts being made to combat it.


Read As early elective births increase so do health risks for mother, child on California Watch.


Download Elimination of Non-medically Indicated (Elective) Deliveries Before 39 Weeks Gestational Age (referred to as “the Toolkit” in the article) from the March of Dimes web site. [pdf]


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Reader Comments (3)

When I read articles like these I find it exceedingly frustrating how unclear references to weeks of gestation are. Do they mean completed weeks? Do they mean anytime during that particular week? When it comes down to the difference between a 37w6d baby versus a 38w0d baby, are they significant? Or what about 38w0d versus 38w6d?

Anyway...that just sticks in my craw and annoys the crap out of me. Ideally, I believe that that gestational age should be counted in number of days from conception, that way the confusion about the +/- 2 weeks accounting for LMP is not an issue, as well as allowing us to be more exact in stating the gestational needs of baby without the confusion of completed weeks, weeks and days, etc.

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonkey Mama

The graphs at the end of the linked (new) article are pretty eye-opening! Look how much birth at 40 weeks or beyond has fallen.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKK

I agree with Monkey Mama and want to add that I would like to understand more about why they stop at 39 weeks. Unfortunately I think OBs see 39 weeks as the acceptable window for getting babies out for ERC and elective inductions... or even for somewhat medically indicated ones because they don't want to manage the condition anymore... I'm not aware of any awesome data that says magical things happen at even 39 weeks... is it 39 weeks simply because if the EDD is 2 weeks early the baby would be into the 37th week? I would love to see them add the benefits of allowing mom and baby;s bodies to determine the birth day as opposed to choosing 39 weeks. Because that is absolutely what is happening.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa Manz
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