Over the past decade, there’s an alarming trend taking place that organizations like the March of Dimes are doing whatever they can to educate pregnant women about the dangers of give birth too early.
While some mothers have no choice and their child comes into the world due to complications, there are other mothers and doctors who are willingly scheduling Caesarean sections (C-section) for convenience.
From women who are just tire of being pregnant, or others wanting a specific date for birth because of sentimental value, what seems to be missed in many of these convenient deliveries is the dangers to the baby.
As more research becomes available, doctors are warning mothers to wait until 39 weeks before even considering delivering. Preterm birth has long been known to put children at risk for developmental problems down the line, but the pediatrics study offers fresh evidence that even being born before 39 weeks, which is technically term, may have lasting effects on babies.
Dr. Kimberly Noble at Columbic University led a study where they looked at 128,050 babies born between 37 weeks and 41 weeks between 1988 and 1992. The researchers compared the length of pregnancy to the children’s scores on standardized reading and math tests when they were in third grade.
Children born at 37 and 38 weeks had significally lower achievement scores than those born at 39 and 41 weeks.
According to the March of Dimes, the premature birth rate has risen by 36 percent over the last 25 years.
While some feel the convenience of delivery is a good option, many don’t realize the cost to society.
Premature births cost society more than $26 billion a year and it takes a high toll on families. Premature birth is the top killer of newborns in the U.S.
In 2003, March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Campaign with an emphasis on preventing preterm births, and reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks.
A premature baby is one who is born too early, before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies can have more health problems and may need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later. More than 500,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the United States.
For more information on the March of Dimes and the Prematurity Campaign, visit the website at www.marchofdimes.com.