Friday, Sept. 2, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — About half of South Carolina hospitals have formally agreed to stop delivering babies early through Cesarean sections that are not medically necessary.
Dr. Rick Foster of the state Hospital Association said Friday all 45 hospitals plan to sign the commitment. The goal of the Birth Outcomes Initiative is to eliminate elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks. The normal length of pregnancy is about 40 weeks.
Foster says even the last week of pregnancy is important for the full development of an infant's brain and lungs. He says many people don't realize the potential risks when they schedule a C-section for convenience.
The state's Medicaid agency says the initiative is aimed at reducing the number of low-weight babies born with development problems, while reducing health care costs.
(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press.)