Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center is in rare company when it comes to delivering babies.
Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association Director, Virginia Patient Safety Organization, Joan Williamson presented a group of Culpeper healthcare providers with a banner from the March of Dimes recognizing their work in reducing the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 weeks of pregnancy.
“They launched this campaign to decrease non-medical elective early deliveries,” Williamson said. “We’ve done some remarkable work.”
The threshold is to have a one percent rate statewide while the rate nationally is two percent. Culpeper is at zero.
Dr. Alta DeRoo, UVA Obstetrics and Gynecology, said that reducing the number of early term inductions is a fairly new goal.
“Previously there was not an established standard in the early 2000s in terms of early term inductions,” De Roo said. “So early term inductions may have been done before 39 weeks. When they were done before 39 weeks it was associated with increased risk of a baby’s respiratory efforts. What we found is if we did not induce babies before 39 weeks, they ended up having better outcomes.”
Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. 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.
“You guys have made a big improvement and you’ve maintained the game,” Williamson said.
DeRoo said the hospital is delivering about 500 babies a year and Culpeper is ahead of the game by not having full-term births. She said that having preterm births from medical issues is a “not common” issue among their patient base but it is something that occurs.
Putting policies in place to avoid scheduling c-sections or inductions prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy has become a priority for the birth center.
“Inductions aren’t for everybody, some people would like to know when the baby is coming and maybe some more predictability,” De Roo said.
Culpeper Medical Center is the first baby friendly hospital in Virginia.
Novant Health UVA Health System is an integrated network of physician offices, outpatient centers and medical centers providing
patients access to advanced, quality care delivered with a personal touch. Founded in 2016, the regional health system is a
partnership between Novant Health and UVA Health System that provides subspecialty care and groundbreaking clinical trials – with the support of UVA Health System – along with urgent and primary care in Northern Virginia. Headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, Novant Health UVA Health System is committed to providing quality care close to home.