Born Too Soon:
As The Number Of Elective Deliveries Remains High, So Do The Risks To Mother and Baby
Womens Health Expert on the Risks, the Costs, and the Solutions for Expectant Parents
Currently, more than 1.2 million Cesarean sections are performed annually in the United States. While some women may need medical intervention as a result of fetal distress and other medical issues, a nationwide study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that more than 35 percent of all C-sections are medically unnecessary, or performed for reasons such as wanting to accommodate the mothers or the doctors schedule. Labor inductions also remain high, and many women who have their labor induced ultimately end up needing a C-section. These procedures cost the healthcare system nearly $15 billion per year, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Many of these scheduled deliveries occur before 39 weeks, a practice that is discouraged by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Research has shown that newborns delivered before 39 weeks are two-times more likely to end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Alarmingly, many women dont know the risks – results from a recent survey found that more than half of first-time mothers believe its safe to deliver before 37 weeks.
Dr. Tina Groat, the national medical director of the womens health line of service for UnitedHealthcare, says that reducing the overall number of elective caesarean sections and inductions prior to 39 weeks would significantly decrease health risks for mothers and their newborns. The March of Dimes concurs, saying the message is simple: Please dont schedule a C-section prior to 39 weeks unless it is medically necessary.
About The Talent: Dr. Tina Groat is National Medical Director of the Womens Health Line of Service for UnitedHealthcare. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her MBA from the University of Michigan. Dr. Groat did her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center, where she served as Assistant Administrative Chief Resident. After residency, Dr. Groat worked as an assistant professor of Clinical Ob/Gyn at Indiana University School of Medicine and as a clinical instructor at the University of Michigan Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
This interview is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.