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UMN research: Nearly 4 percent of US babies born before full-term without medical reason
Date:6/20/2014

New University of Minnesota research out this week is the first of its kind to show who is having early elective deliveries between 37 and 39 weeks gestation, and whether these deliveries happen following labor induction or cesarean.

Labor induction or cesarean delivery without medical reason before a baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks, or an "early elective delivery," is associated with health problems for mothers and babies.

The study, led by University of Minnesota School of Public Health Assistant Professor Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., M.P.A., in collaboration with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers Michelle Macheras, M.A., and Scott A. Lorch, M.D., M.S.C.E., appears in this month's edition of the journal Medical Care.

Researchers reviewed data linking birth certificates with hospital records for all births in California, Missouri and Pennsylvania between 1995 and 2009. The three states represent approximately 20 percent of all U.S. births and encompass a wide range of sociodemographic characteristics and geographic locations.

"Our study showed that early elective deliveries made up more than 3 percent of U.S. births each year over the past 20 years. This may seem to be a small number, but with 4 million births a year in the U.S., each percentage point represents 40,000 babies," said Kozhimannil. "In addition, we showed that there are important sociodemographic differences in the chances a pregnant woman has an early elective cesarean or an early elective induction of labor."

The chance of early elective induction was higher among women:

  • 35 years of age or older, white with higher education levels
  • Who were privately insured
  • Who gave birth at rural or nonteaching hospitals

Early elective cesareans were more likely for women:

  • Less than 20 years old or over 35 years old
  • Who were black
  • Who had higher education levels
  • Who gave birt
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Contact: Miranda Taylor
tayl0551@umn.edu
612-626-2767
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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