08:55 AM

Hospitals put an end to early delivery of babies for convenience sake

Hospitals now follow a "hard-stop" rule that is ending the days of "babies on demand," when mothers and doctors scheduled deliveries that might take place weeks before babies were due. Previously, many C-sections were performed before the babies reached full term.

Recent data from the Missouri Hospital Association also show quick success. Among the 31 hospitals that took part in an association-sponsored quality improvement project, the overall early elective-delivery rate dropped from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 1.1 percent last year. By the second half of 2013, most of the hospitals weren't doing any early elective deliveries.

The hospital association calculated that since January 2012, the hospitals in its project avoided 737 unnecessary early deliveries and saved more than a half-million dollars by delivering healthier babies who didn't need intensive care.

Eugenia Pallotto, medical director of the intensive care nursery at Children's Mercy Hospital, said she used to see more early elective-delivery babies being admitted to the hospital. They would need intravenous fluids, feeding and breathing tubes, and incubators to keep them warm.

"Thankfully, it's decreasing," Pallotto said.

Read more via Kansas City Star