Hospitals Move to Shut Down Elective Deliveries

Nearly two-thirds of all U.S. hospitals have instituted policies to eliminate non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks’ gestation and those policies may be having a positive impact on fetal outcomes, according to a pair of studies presented here at the annual meeting of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Data from an Ohio urban hospital that implemented a “hard-stop” policy to prevent elective delivery prior to 39 weeks’ gestation, revealed a significant reduction in still births from 16 in the 3 years before the policy was instituted to three in 2.5 years afterward (P=0.023), reported Angela Silber, MD, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Summa Akron City Hospital.

Additionally, there was a decline in the number of NICU admissions, from 867 before the policy to 587 afterward, but that trend did not reach significance (P=0.06).