Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

Features
AP Video
Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security Thousands Cross Boston Marathon Finish Line Defendant Killed by Police in Courthouse Attack Raw: Woman Accused in Babies' Deaths in Court Raw: Sinkhole Swallows Part of Fla. Yard Stowaway Stirs Concern About Airport Security
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should more time and money be invested in Knoxville's City Parks?

Yes
No
     View Results