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Is there a tie between gestation and birth injuries?

While it is undeniable that any medical negligence is tragic, all would likely agree that it is even worse when it is tied to the birth of a child. While there are of course times when a poor outcome in a birth is not the fault of the individuals providing medical care, in some instances there are steps that can be taken to safeguard the health of the child.

One of those actions, that has been receiving a lot of attention as of late, is waiting to induce a birth until the pregnancy is at least 39 weeks along.

One state has taken action to reduce the number of babies born before 39 weeks. The move was made after investigating the growing amount of birth injuries, delivery complications and issues found with newborns. After investigating data the timing of the delivery appears to play a vital role. The number of babies suffering from problems dropped dramatically once the babies reached 39 or 40 weeks before being delivered.

There are of course a multitude of problems babies can encounter when they are born early. Some of these include:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • The need for a Caesarian section delivery
  • Respiratory issues
  • Jaundice
  • Issues with maintaining a proper body temperature
  • Cerebral palsy

A mother going into labor on her own a couple of weeks before her due date is not the issue in this case. Instead the state in this instance focused on reducing the number of scheduled inductions that were made out of convenience, not medical need. While this may throw a wrench into the plans of parents throughout the nation who have scheduled an elective birth a couple weeks before the child's due date, it could greatly benefit the new life being brought into the world.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the health of a baby is more important than having a convenient delivery?

Source: Seattle Times, "Baby's birth day can be risky if rushed, hospitals are told," Carol M. Ostrom, Dec. 31, 2012

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