The Ottumwa Courier

Community News Network

December 6, 2012

Hospital incentives help babies determine own birth dates

The evidence has been in for some time. Scheduling births may be convenient for physicians, hospitals and expectant parents, but it generally isn't good for the health of mothers and children. It's expensive to boot.

To get a baby to arrive on schedule, doctors often perform a cesarean section, the most common surgery in the United States Since 1996, C-section rates have risen every year to 33 percent of all births in 2009. According to the World Health Organization, the right figure for any country is about 15 percent. The desire to deliver by appointment also prompts doctors to induce labor, for instance by injecting mothers with a hormone or breaking the amniotic sac. Induction rates have doubled over two decades to 23 percent in 2009.

These procedures are sometimes medically necessary — a cesarean, for instance, when the baby is in the breech position, or induction when the baby is more than two weeks overdue. Their elective use, however, has contributed to babies being born too early. From 1990 to 2009, the percentage of U.S. babies delivered at 37 to 38 weeks increased from 19 percent to 27 percent. These newborns aren't technically premature, but a growing body of research shows they are vulnerable. According to a study published last year, children born at 37 weeks are twice as likely to die in their first year as those born at 40 weeks. They have significantly more health problems as well.

These complications tax the health system. Weak newborns often wind up in neonatal intensive care units, which can cost $2,500 a day. Even when all goes well, a cesarean section, because it is surgery, costs 60 percent more than a vaginal delivery, averaging $24,300 versus $15,200.

As hospitals and insurers struggle to contain expenses, a confluence of interests emerges. By reducing elective birth interventions, providers and insurers can cut costs while mothers and newborns achieve better health.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National