Newport News, VA — Early elective deliveries of babies, which is defined by when a baby is scheduled and delivered by cesarean (C-section) or induction before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy for non-medical reasons, represents a significant patient safety issue and cost in health care. One study has estimated that nearly $1 billion could be saved annually in the U.S. if the rate of early elective deliveries was reduced to 1.7%.
In response to a standard set by The Leapfrog Group—one of the country’s most trusted sources of hospital performance information—Riverside Regional Medical Center has achieved a “Better Than Standard” rating by posting an Early Elective Delivery assessment of just 1%. The target set by The Leapfrog Group for their 2011 survey was 5%.
Hospitals and medical groups voluntarily complete the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey to provide measurements and publicity reports on a wide array of safety, quality and efficiency measures. Riverside Medical Group was applauded for their “transparency” by providing factual and measurable data that will allow the public to openly compare hospitals by the services and care they provide.

Early Elective Deliveries
Research points to the fact that scheduling and delivering babies before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy puts babies at unnecessary risk of a higher likelihood of death, being admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and/or lifelong health problems.
Some of the reasons that early induction is presented as an option include: health problems that may affect the mother or child, the mother’s desire to get the pregnancy over with, and concerns about the size (too large or too small) of the baby.

To avoid the chances of being unnecessarily induced, expectant mothers are encouraged to:
  • Do their best to make sure their estimated due date is accurate.
  • Get educated about the reasons why women should be induced and when “elective” inducement may be more harmful than helpful.
  • Chose a birth setting with a low induction rate.

Published: February 17, 2012