A campaign has been created to stop doctors and hospitals from inducing labor before 39 weeks unless absolutely necessary.
Even just 10 years ago women were being able to induce their pregnancy at 37 weeks just because, “they didn’t want to be pregnant anymore.” Doctors considered 37 weeks to be full term and were under the impression that the only development that occurs during the last three weeks of pregnancy is weight gain. Doctors would allow pregnant women to give birth at 37 weeks with the assumption that they would be just a little bit smaller. However, studies have proven that every single week counts, even at the end of the pregnancy.
Hospitals around the United States have now implemented new rules stating that women cannot be induced before 39 weeks unless there is an imminent risk to the mother or the little baby. A new campaign has been started called, “Every Week Count” which encourages all hospitals to practice the “39 Week Rule” unless it is to save the mother or baby's life.
Studies have shown that by 37 weeks the little babies are not developing and it goes way beyond simple weight gain. Babies are still developing their lungs in their 37 and 38 weeks of gestation. Therefore, if a baby is born before 39 weeks their chances of having to stay in the NICU to help with their breathing increase. The study also indicated that babies who are born before 39 weeks will have a longer stay in the hospital, have a higher chance of having Jaundice and have a greater possibility of being readmitted to the hospital in the first year of their life.
Professor Jonathon Morris, leader of the campaign, stated that "those last few weeks of gestation might seem insignificant, but-in reality-babies are going through crucial development phases towards the end of each pregnancy." He goes onto say, "for example, at 35 weeks a baby's brain weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 40 weeks."
Not only does premature birth (which is anything before 39 weeks) have short term effects it also has long term effects as well. Earlier births are linked to an increased chance of having developmental problems which can lead to poorer school performance. It is highly advised that hospitals implement a new rule that they are not allowed to induce labor or perform any type cesarean without having a medical reason to do so. A recent healthcare study revealed that about 60% of planned c-sections that were performed before 39 weeks were not medically necessary.
The "Every Week Counts" campaign is crucial to help protect our little babies and to make sure that they are provided with the most time to grow and mature. Babies should be kept inside mom until at least 39 weeks unless medically necessary.