St. Francis Hospital Recognized by March of Dimes for Giving More Babies a Healthy Start in Life

November 16, 2016

Columbus, GA, November 16, 2016 – St. Francis Hospital has been recognized by the March of Dimes for its work to give babies a healthier start in life. St. Francis Hospital earned the recognition after successfully reducing the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy to less than one percent (1%). This is a tremendous accomplishment, and one that will give more babies the right start in life, the March of Dimes says.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized the problem of unnecessary early deliveries in our hospital, and put in place practices and processes to avoid scheduling cesarean sections or inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Shirley Hoskins, Interim CNO at St. Francis.  “This achievement is a testament to our strong commitment to making communities healthier.”

As part of LifePoint Health, a leading healthcare company dedicated to Making Communities Healthier®, St. Francis Hospital joins a group of 30 other LifePoint facilities that also reached this milestone.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are important, as babies aren’t just putting on weight; they are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” says Edward R.B. McCabe, MD, PhD, March of Dimes senior vice president and chief medical officer. “We commend St. Francis for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement efforts.”

Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants, according to the March of Dimes. Although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities. Babies who survive an early birth often face lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.

Hoskins says the March of Dimes has been helping to get the word out that “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait,” and the hospital was eager to help support this important community message.

“This campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 weeks,” said Shirley Hoskins.  “We fully support this effort and have been proud to partner in this important work.”

The March of Dimes offers both professional and consumer education materials about the critical importance of a full-term pregnancy to the health and well-being of babies.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help prevent premature birth and birth defects by joining March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org