New Georgia Policy Encourages Moms to Carry Babies to Full Term

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Statistics show that 10% of
all births are scheduled early without a medical reason.  Doctors say many mothers schedule those
births for comfort or cosmetic reasons. 
However, they say it may not be the best option for you and your family.

Nearly 16% of hospitals
across the Peach State allow mothers to give birth early.  

Now, two local hospitals
working to discourage planned early deliveries by banning moms from scheduling
births before 39 weeks without a medical reasons.

Dr. Russell Swagner, a gynecologist
at Doctors Hospital, says, “Even 37, 38 weeks there could create
respiratory problems with the baby. It can make the baby want to stay in the
hospital, which could then incur extra costs and expenses. As we're in the
health care reform obviously, so that makes a big difference too.”

Starting July 1st,
Medicaid in Georgia will not reimburse any mother who chooses to give birth
early. Doctors Hospital has banned the practice since 2009.  Georgia Regents Medical Center does not ban
early elective deliveries; however doctors there encourage mothers to wait
until full term to deliver.

Shalonna Stewart, a new mom, says “Both
as a mother and as a nurse, I do understand the importance of letting the baby
develop fully. Especially given their lungs the chance to develop.”

Studies show that waiting
the full 39 weeks can also increase the I-Q of baby and help with brain

Doctors say it could save money
in medical costs.  “In the long run,
you're not going to have babies who have to be in the ICU, you're not going to
have mothers staying longer. In the long run I think hospitals administrators
are going to be happy this is not running up the costs,” says Dr. Russell

In Georgia, 9,000 children
are prematurely born every year.   The
March of Dimes' Augusta Branch is holding a 3-mile walk to promote banning
early elective delivery.

They are also raising money for the costs
associated with those premature births.   That event will be Saturday, May 4th
at 9:00 a.m. at Lake Olmstead Park.

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