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Every Week Counts

When I talk to pregnant women in the third trimester, the general consensus seems to be discomfort, annoyance, and of course just wanting to be done with pregnancy. Heck, I know that is exactly where I was just 10 days ago!

Many women feel as though making it to 37 weeks gestation gives them a ticket to evict their baby because many consider that to be when you technically become full term although babies who are born during that time frame can still face issues.

In the past two decades, labor inductions have increased by 13% not just for medically necessary instances, but also for convenience. Also known as elective inductions. This is despite the fact that many major medical organizations have warned providers, and parents that elective induction before 39 weeks gestation can be considered dangerous.   Now, for me when I hear this, I equate other choices that pregnant women could make that would be considered dangerous…

Riding on a motorcycle
Drinking alcohol
Driving without a seat belt
Snowboarding
Eating lunch meat

I mean, the list goes on, but all of the above… or at least most would send the average person over the edge with judgment and of course even stepping in to ensure the safety of the fetus in question. But not for a choice that is being labeled as clearly dangerous by medical organizations. So what gives?

Now the March of Dimes and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are partnering together on a campaign called Every Week Counts.  One of my favorite professional advocates, Dr. George Macones was recently quoted saying:

“If a baby needs to be born for a medical reason, that baby should be born,” said Dr. George Macones, an OBGYN at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis. “But when I was practicing in Philadelphia, patients put pressure to deliver early for what I call ‘social purposes.’”

According to Macones, births of convenience are often requested to accommodate visiting relatives who want to witness the birth or a doctor’s busy schedule.

“But there are also problems with dating,” Macones said. “What you think might be 37 weeks can really be 36 or 35.”

The Every Week Counts campaign is now working one-on-one with hospitals all over the country to eliminate elective deliveries before 39 weeks altogether.

Remember, no matter how uncomfortable that last trimester is… every week counts for the health and well being of your baby!

photo: flickr.com/g u i d o

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