On September 5, Leesburg Regional Medical Center was honored by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District XII (Florida) and the March of Dimes for reducing the number of early elective inductions and cesarean deliveries.
The criteria to qualify for this distinction include achieving a rate of 5 percent or lower for elective deliveries before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy and implementing policies to prevent such deliveries.
“Studies have shown that deliveries that are scheduled for convenience or other non-medical reasons may increase harm to infants, increase health care costs, and worsen medical outcomes,” said Alfred H. Moffett, MD, Immediate Past Chair of ACOG District XII. “I am extremely pleased with Leesburg Regional Medical Center’s participation.”
In an average week in Florida, 549 babies are born preterm and 29 die before their first birthday, many times as a result of their early births. Early elective deliveries can cause lifelong health challenges for the baby, including breathing difficulty, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants.
“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who tackled this important community issue. By developing and implementing department policies to avoid scheduling deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary, our Life Center for Women has supported best practices for reducing early elective deliveries,” said Don Henderson, President & CEO. “This is a reflection of our commitment to providing the best care for mothers and babies.”
The March of Dimes commends this momentous achievement. “We are delighted to recognize LRMC and present this commemorative banner to them for adhering to standards that directly benefit the health of babies,” said Dr. Karen Harris, Chair of the Program Services Committee for the March of Dimes Florida Chapter. “The last few weeks of pregnancy are extremely important for the baby’s brain and lung development, among other organs.”