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Baptist Health Paducah partners with March of Dimes

Baptist Health Paducah is partnering with the March of Dimes to lower the number of premature births. 

Baptist Health is among 100 hospitals nationwide working with the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®” campaign, including the 39 weeks+ Quality Improvement Service Package to reduce medically-unnecessary (elective) inductions and Cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

“We’re proud to partner with the March of Dimes to give more babies a healthy start in life,” said Lisa Parnell, R.N., director of Mother and Baby Services at Baptist Health. “We are the region’s first hospital to implement the 39-week policy. We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and the work they are doing to avoid scheduling elective inductions or Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.”

As president of the Kentucky Perinatal Association, Baptist Health obstetrician/gynecologist Pamela Hodges, M.D., has worked six years on the March of Dimes project.

“I am pleased our team of physicians and nurses has embraced this new policy, and, therefore, we have been able to implement no elective inductions or Cesarean sections before 39 weeks,” Dr. Hodges said. “Our group of physicians and nurses know that for every week before 39 weeks, the likelihood of a baby needing neonatal intensive care doubles. It is with great pleasure that I can say the physicians and staff of Baptist Health Paducah have made this one of the pioneering hospitals for this service package.”

More babies are delivered at Baptist Health Paducah than at all the area’s other hospitals combined. It has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the area and has been named among America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics by WomenCertified®.

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others.

“Every week of pregnancy is critical to a baby’s health,” said Scott Berns, M.D., March of Dimes senior vice-president and deputy medical director. “I commend Baptist Health for being a champion for babies and through this partnership will help more babies go full-term if the pregnancy is healthy.”