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Preterm Elective Childbirth

With more than 180 hospitals and 2,000 healthcare facilities, we can conduct large studies in very short periods of time. Such was the case with our 39 Weeks initiative, a study that changed the way the world thinks about preterm elective childbirth.

For two decades, HCA Healthcare has been committed to improving maternal outcomes. We are leading the nation in perinatal patient safety practice by significantly lowering mortality rates, addressing racial disparities and discovering scientific breakthroughs that have paved the way for a healthier future.

Rethinking the way the world thinks about preterm elective childbirth

In 1999, HCA Healthcare funded the Perinatal Risk Management Initiative, which aimed to identify and evaluate adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. This initiative led to a partnership with the March of Dimes in which HCA Healthcare conducted a landmark study of non-medically necessary deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation. Using data from 27 hospitals and 18,000 deliveries over three months, HCA Healthcare found increased risk of illness for infants delivered at 37 and 38 weeks, compared to 39 weeks or later.

The study prompted HCA Healthcare to create and implement its evidence-based perinatal protocols in 2003, which included prohibiting elective delivery prior to 39 weeks across all HCA Healthcare facilities. This best practice has been adopted worldwide as a standard of care, including in non-HCA Healthcare hospitals. The research was also a cornerstone of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative.

HCA Healthcare perinatal safety standards have been promoted by organizations like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and March of Dimes (MOD).

In our third year as a national partner with March of Dimes, an organization that leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies, HCA Healthcare has pledged to contribute $3 million over three years through donations and fundraising events like March for Babies. HCA Healthcare and affiliate hospitals have already contributed more than $2.1 million in two years.

Power of Partnership: HCA Healthcare and the March of Dimes