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Published on October 08, 2010

The Women's Hospital joins statewide 39 Weeks Project

The Women’s Hospital of Greensboro is one of 40 hospitals in North Carolina taking part in a program aimed at reducing elective deliveries of less than 39 weeks gestation. The program is called the 39 Weeks Project.

While technically considered "full-term" after 37 weeks of gestation, babies born before 39 weeks have a higher risk of respiratory and other complications. Electing to carry a baby to 39 weeks reduces these risks, giving the baby’s body and brain the opportunity to develop fully before birth.

North Carolina is ranked in the lowest 10 percent in the United States for infant mortality and has a 13.3 percent premature birth rate. The 39 Weeks Project is the first maternal health initiative of the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina - a group of organizations and individuals committed to making North Carolina the best place to be born.

The Women’s Hospital has partnered with the March of Dimes to distribute brochures to patients explaining why the last weeks of pregnancy are so important. There are times when early delivery is medically necessary because of health concerns with the mother or baby. However, reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks will significantly impact the number of newborns admitted to special care nurseries.

While there has been no proven connection, the NICU admissions have declined at The Women’s Hospital during the course of this project. Avoiding an early induction of labor also decreases the mother's risk of having a cesarean section.

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