According to Dr. Sikka, when it comes to pregnancy, what mothers don’t know really could hurt them and their babies. That’s why we’ve launched the Healthy Pregnancy program to help connect expectant mothers, insured by UnitedHealthcare, with the care and education they need.
One of our areas of focus for expectant mothers is to help them understand the process of a baby’s development and avoid risk factors for giving birth prematurely. Some risk factors are entirely avoidable. For instance, we discovered from a survey that many new moms don’t have a clear understanding of when a baby is “full term.”
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) classifies a baby as “full term” at 37 weeks, but advises against elective deliveries before 39 weeks. But the UnitedHealthcare study, which surveyed 650 insured, first-time mothers from varied geographic, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, found that more than 90% of respondents thought that it was safe to deliver a baby before 39 weeks. Furthermore, nearly one in four women surveyed believed that a baby was full term at 34-36 weeks. American College
When UnitedHealthcare reviewed claims data from 2006, we discovered that 48% of newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit were from scheduled admissions for delivery, many before 39 weeks of gestation. While many mothers will try to schedule the birth of their baby around other events or around their doctor’s schedule, planning a birth before the baby is full-term comes at a risk to the infant’s health. When doctors at these hospitals were notified of UnitedHealthcare’s findings and altered their practices to avoid scheduled deliveries before 39 weeks, the hospitals saw a 46-percent decrease in admissions to the NICU in the first three months - a decline that has held stable.
Dr. Sikka strongly emphasized the fact that, the decision to induce labor early or perform a C-section before a pregnancy is full-term should take clinical recommendations into account and reflect the baby’s and mother’s health and medical needs. Expectant parents should take the opportunity to learn just how important the last few remaining weeks are for a baby’s health and development.
More information about women’s health and healthy pregnancies can be viewed at http://www.uhc.com/source4women.htm.