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Providence Medical Centers Recognized for Taking Steps to Reduce Premature Births

Posted: January 30, 2013 11:36 a.m.
Updated: January 30, 2013 11:36 a.m.

LOS ANGELES (January 30, 2013) -- Following the “39-Week Rule” for most mothers-to-be has resulted in healthier babies born at Providence hospitals in the Los Angeles area.

The practice of waiting at least 39 weeks for elective deliveries has earned four Providence Southern California medical centers recognition from the National Health Foundation’s patient safety coalition for reducing the number of premature births.

James Danielzadeh, M.D., chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, said that since his hospital adopted the 39-Week Rule, there are fewer premature babies, which means fewer tiny and fragile patients in Providence’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

“We’re using evidence-based practices on a consistent basis, and the result is fewer babies going to the NICU,” said Toni Meek, R.N., nurse manager of Women’s Services at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance. “Waiting full term means healthier lungs and even better success for moms when they breastfeed.”

Providence Little Company of MaryMedical Centers in San Pedro and Torrance, Providence Tarzana Medical Center and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank earned certificates of achievement from the Patient Safety First… a California Partnership for Health for 100 percent success in working with obstetricians to wait until at least the 39th week of pregnancy before delivering babies – if the mother is medically able.
The recognition comes as Michael Hunn, senior vice president and chief executive of Providence Health & Services, Southern California, takes on the role as chairman of the March of Dimes’ April 27 March for Babies fundraising walk at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. His selection and the role of Providence as a corporate sponsor were announced today for the event to raise money to help improve the health of newborns.

“This is a perfect match for Providence where every day in our NICUs we see the results of research financed by the March of Dimes,” Hunn said. “We’re seeing fewer premature babies and we’re seeing more and more of the most fragile infants survive and thrive. That’s because the March of Dimes has helped develop new protocols, diagnostics, procedures and medications to ensure we deliver more healthy babies.”

It used to be acceptable to induce labor or schedule cesarean-sections a week or two before the 39 weeks, but research found it was often detrimental to the development of the fetus in those finals days. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has since recommended a minimum 39 weeks of gestation unless there are underlying reasons for delivering earlier.
Initiating the 39-Week Rule at Providence required working with physicians, most of whom readily adopted the new practice. Since implementing the practice, no physicians at the four medical centers have elected to deliver infants ahead of schedule.

Patient Safety First… a California Partnership for Health was developed by the National Health Foundation and is sponsored locally by Anthem Blue Shield and the Hospital Association of Southern California.


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