First Steps Program Newborn Nursery

39 Weeks Initiative

39 Weeks Initiative

Effective Aug. 1, 2012, WellStar West Georgia Medical Center no longer schedules elective cesarean sections or labor inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy, unless the mother or baby have specific medical conditions that require early delivery.

Leaders in the Maternal and Infant Services department at WellStar WGMC made this decision to support the March of Dimes initiative Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®. They strongly believe that unless there is a medical reason to intervene, nature knows best when it comes time for a mother to deliver her baby.

Scheduling an early birth can be a problem for the mother for many reasons, according to the March of Dimes. Your due date may not be exactly right because, even with an ultrasound, a due date may be off by a week or two. In addition, inducing labor may not work, which would call for a C-section, which, in turn, can increase the risk of complications from surgery or infection.

Despite common misconceptions, a full-term birth is considered to be 39 weeks, not nine months. Babies born at full term have fewer hearing and vision problems, fewer feeding problems and a decreased change of having a low birth weight. The brain, lungs and eyes are in the final stages of development in the final weeks of pregnancy, and imaging studies indicate that the brains of infants born after 39 weeks are larger than younger gestation babies.

For more information, call (706) 882-1411.