Fairbanks Memorial Hospital to promote full-term
deliveries in support of fetal development
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Nov. 17, 2011) --- Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (FMH), in coordination with Banner Health, recently established a policy promoting full-term labor and delivery for pregnancies of 39 or more weeks, absent any medical conditions that threaten the mother or baby.
The FMH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology's unanimous decision, supported by The March of Dimes and other respected health care organizations, encourages mothers with late-term pregnancies to allow for a natural delivery timetable. FMH is currently the only hospital in Alaska that has a policy promoting full-term delivery.
In 2011, Alaska earned a grade of "B" on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. In comparison, the U.S. as a nation rated a "C'. The nation's current preterm birthrate is 12.2 percent, down half a percent since 2006. The March of Dimes has set a goal of 9.6 percent by 2020.
Preterm birth before 37 weeks is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of newborn death and/or health challenges that can last a lifetime, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, and others. A period of at least 39 weeks of pregnancy is considered critical to a baby’s health because many important organs are not completely developed until then.
The March of Dimes says its 2020 preterm birth goal can be achieved by a combination of activities, such as:
- giving all women of childbearing age access to health care coverage
- fully implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth (such as not smoking during pregnancy)
- getting preconception and early pre-natal care
- hormone treatments for women who are medically eligible
- avoiding multiples from fertility treatments
- avoiding medically unnecessary C-sections/inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy
- funding new research on prevention of preterm birth
FMH Contact: Clover Tiffany, Director of Communications