According to data released by the March of Dimes, Mount St. Mary's Hospital has earned a grade of "A" in its work to prevent premature births.
Premature birth is defined as births before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Its complications are seen as the No. 1 cause of infant death in the U.S. Babies who survive premature birth often have long-term health problems. Nationally, the premature birth rate is 9.8 percent. At Mount St. Mary's, the rate is 5.9 percent.
"Our A-rating is the result of the care provided by our medical team of obstetricians and staff in working with their patients," said Gary C. Tucker, president and CEO. "The programs we have put in place are having a positive result for our moms and babies, and the community."
The evidence-based programs implemented by Mount St. Mary's to reduce prematurity include smoking cessation; use of 17P, which is a progesterone medicine for at-risk pregnant women to help prevent preterm birth; low-dose aspirin; and centering/group pregnancy care.
"All of the physicians and providers here at the Center for Women at Mount St. Mary's take great pride in our success to reduce the incidence of prematurity in our community," said Dr. Rachel Weselak, OB/GYN. "We know that even one or two more weeks in the womb can make a big difference in the development of a baby. The enhanced pre-natal care we provide to hundreds of women each year is vital to mom and baby."
In providing advice to women, the nine recommended steps to help ensure a full-term pregnancy from the March of Dimes include:
- Plan when you want to have a baby.
- Use birth control until you're ready to get pregnant.
- Take a multivitamin that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects.
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and abusing drugs.
- Get a preconception checkup.
- Eat healthy and get to a healthy weight.
- Do something active every day.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals and other harmful substances at work and at home.
- Learn to lower your stress.
For information on the Center for Women at Mount St. Mary's Hospital, call 716-298-2224.