N.J. hospitals reduce early elective delivery births (with one exception)

Source: NJ.com Health
In just four years, New Jersey has cut by more than half their rate of early elective delivery births (due to induced labor or planned cesarean surgery), according to a national report released today. The report on maternal care was released by the non-profit Leapfrog Group, which collects information from U.S. hospitals and rates their performance.
“We’ve made a huge amount of progress,” said Laurie Navin, director of program services for the March of Dimes in New Jersey, which had joined the recent push for emphasizing full-term births….A pregnancy is considered “full term” if it is between 39 and 41 weeks…

New Jersey had just four percent of early elective delivery births in 2014 – a steep drop from the 16 percent reported in 2010. (Such cases differ from premature births that happen naturally.)

Nationally, the rate of elective early delivery births continues to drop, with the average below the target rate of five percent…Hospitals have also worked to let parents know how important the final few weeks of pregnancy are to a baby’s health and well-being…
In New Jersey, the Department of Health has urged hospitals to take a closer look at every early elective delivery birth. Nearly all instituted what’s called a “hard stop,” in which the decision to have an early elective delivery birth must be reviewed by the head of obstetrics and has to have a medical reason…
“The hospitals really rose to the challenge,” said Kerry McKean Kelly of the New Jersey Hospital Association…She added said her data shows the state’s rate to be just three percent, not the four percent cited in the report.
…However, New Jersey remains one of 14 states where women are more likely to receive an episiotomy — a small incision made in the perineum, or birth canal, to facilitate delivery. While the procedure used to be commonplace…today’s medical guidelines recommend it only in a small percentage of cases…because it increases the risk of tears, loss of bladder or bowel control, and pelvic floor infections.
Leapfrog reported that hospitals vary tremendously in the rate of episiotomies, with some hospitals reporting fewer than 1 percent of mothers experience it, while others saying more than 40 percent have it during childbirth. Roughly 17 percent of women still receive the incision in New Jersey hospitals, a rate topped only by Alabama, Mississippi and Utah among the states included in the study.
The New Jersey hospital with the highest rate…(of) early elective delivery births…was Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus…(at) 34.3 percent…according to the Leapfrog report. Meadowlands became a for-profit company in 2010. A company spokesman did not return calls seeking a comment.

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