A North Richland Hills hospital says it will limit or eliminate elective deliveries.
Doctors and administrators at North Hills Hospital say they will limit or eliminate elective deliveries. That means they will not induce labor unless there's a medical necessity.
The hospital is one of the first in North Texas to officially limit elective deliveries for women who have not reached their 39th week of pregnancy.
“A lot of people think that after a baby is 37 weeks, the baby’s full-term and the baby’s going to come out and have no problems, and that’s actually not the case,” Dr. Jonathan Snead said. “Most babies will do fine if they’re born after 37 weeks, which we consider full term, but there still is a little slight risk of respiratory distress syndrome.”
Experts know that mothers should wait as long as possible, but in recent years, induced deliveries have become more common -- sometimes just because the mothers ask for it.
"Women are tired, or maybe it's a convenience thing; maybe they want their physician to deliver them, and they know their physician's going to be going on vacation,” said Debbie Cates, director of Women's Services at North Hills Hospital.
Some women may try to time the deliveries around visits from relatives or special holidays.
“So we do have women who come in and request for convenience or social-type reasons,” Cates said.
In addition to the risk of respiratory distress syndrome, some babies born early also lack the coordination needed for sucking and swallowing and don’t have adequate fat stores on their bodies.
Patient Tiffany Thompson’s first baby was delivered a few weeks early.
“He was long and real skinny and crinkly because he was needing to fill all that out those last few weeks," she said.
Her newborn, Luke, arrived at 40 weeks, and is “puffy and juicy and nice and ripe.” It’s a noticeable difference, she said.