No one wants to think about maternal or child death when it comes to pregnancy. But recent reports show that the United States ranks poorly among developed nations, with a woman here facing a 1 in 1,800 risk of maternal death. U.S. women are 10 times more likely to die from a cause related to pregnancy as women in Belarus, Poland or Austria.
How can we change that? We at HCA Midwest Health are doing everything for mothers and babies. We focus on them. We know for moms, getting them the right prenatal care and education is a big first step. We have obstetricians, family practice physicians, perinatologists (also known as high-risk or maternal fetal medicine doctors) and certified nurse midwives available at our facilities and also provide comprehensive care and specialized childbirth education, all in convenient and easy-to-access locations. In fact, no one delivers more babies and cares for more neonates than HCA Midwest Health. Oh, and we’re leading the nation in getting more pregnancies closer to full-term delivery with our “My 39 Weeks” campaign.
As part of that prenatal care, we identify mothers who may be high risk and take special care of them. For example, we have a special antepartum unit at Overland Park Regional Medical Center for women who experience complications with their pregnancy and require 24-hour management prior to give birth. It offers a highly specialized team of care providers for mother and baby, tests and 24/7 monitoring for women (and their unborn babies) who have had previous complicated pregnancies or have other health risks.
Our neonatal intensive care units (NICU) provide the best care to the most fragile babies. We have the neonatologists, pediatricians, pediatric sub-specialists, neonatal nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists and other specialized healthcare professionals to care for these babies and work with their families.
One of our greatest achievements has been HCA’s “My 39 Weeks” campaign. HCA has led the way in reducing the number of babies delivered before 39 weeks of pregnancy. For years, some elective cesarean section births have been performed earlier, some at 37 weeks, for non-medical reasons. Although first considered harmless, studies show that babies born too early may have more health problems at birth and later in life than babies born later. Being pregnant 39 weeks gives your baby’s body all the time it needs to grow. And while we know that you can’t wait to meet your baby, “My 39 Weeks” initiative has proven to keep moms and babies healthy. In fact, in 2012, our work was recognized by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
So if you’re expecting, rest easy because before, during and after birth, we are working to do our best for women and their babies.
More information can be found at The March of Dimes.