As part of OHA's comprehensive and targeted plan to reduce Ohio's infant mortality rate, hospitals are working to reduce Ohio's high rate of early elective delivery. Below you will find information about why this initiative is important and how hospitals can participate.

Elective Deliveries Before 39 Weeks

Scheduled delivery prior to 39 completed weeks gestation, also known as early elective delivery (EED), is defined as scheduled vaginal delivery or cesarean section (C-section) between 37 and 39 completed weeks of gestation.

For almost three decades, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have promoted a standard requiring 39 completed weeks gestation prior to scheduling a delivery for both vaginal or C-section. (position paper)

Compared to spontaneous labor (labor that is not induced), scheduled inductions result in more C-sections and longer hospital stays for moms. Repeat scheduled C-sections before 39 weeks gestation also result in higher rates of adverse respiratory outcomes, mechanical ventilation, sepsis, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) for the newborn. Read more about the research.

About the 39 Weeks Hospital Initiative

The Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQC) has been working to reduce EED in Ohio since 2007. Starting with Ohio's largest maternity and pediatric hospitals, this public and private collaboration has made dramatic improvements in this measure and has expanded this effort to all maternity hospitals in 2014 (see figure).

It is clear that while significant progress has been made, opportunity for continued improvement exists. Continuing to reduce the rate of EEDs is one of OHA's priority areas of focus in an effort to reduce Ohio's infant mortality rate. This hospital-led initiative focuses on adopting scheduling practices that align with eliminating EEDs; promoting physician accountability, transparency and discussion; and providing patient and community education.

Participating hospitals will receive access to online resources, awareness tools and public recognition as a participating hospital.

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