Tennessee Hospitals Resist Moms Who Want To Deliver Babies Early

Oliver McDonald, weighing in at 8 pounds and 5 ounces when he was born in late February at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital, was 40 weeks and 4 days “in utero.” Credit: Tennessee Hospital Association

Oliver McDonald, weighing in at 8 pounds and 5 ounces when he was born in late February at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital, was 40 weeks and 4 days “in utero.” Credit: Tennessee Hospital Association

More Tennessee doctors are saying no to expectant mothers who want to have their baby early. A statewide campaign has reduced early elective deliveries by 75 percent.

The scientific evidence shows that babies carried 39 weeks and beyond have lower risks of complications. And while obstetricians know the research, they also want to please their patients, who have their own reasons for wanting to be induced ahead of schedule.

Dr. David Adair is director of maternal-fetal medicine at Chattanooga’s Erlanger Medical Center. He says some physicians have resisted saying no to an early delivery, believing they can beat the odds.

“When I go and pull that particular practitioner’s data, you know he had 10 babies in the intensive care unit in the last six months. So I have to push back and say I’m not sure you’re following you’re patients as well as you think.”

Nearly 90 percent of Tennessee hospitals have committed not to deliver babies early unless there is a “compelling medical risk.”

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