Obici recognized for births

Published 9:53 pm Saturday, February 19, 2011

Staff awarded: From left, Hattie Boone, director of the Women’s Center; Mary Williams, unit manager; Edward Wing, chief of obstetrics and pediatrics; and Miranda Powell, day charge nurse, show off a plaque that the Obici Labor and Delivery Team received from the Women’s Health Clinical Effectiveness Council for a year with no elective deliveries at fewer than 39 weeks gestation.

Hospital receives recognition for 2009 statistics

Sentara Obici Hospital has been recognized as one of only four hospitals in the state that had zero elective births in 2009.

“We not only meet the system, but we are the shining star in the system,” Dr. Edward Wing, chief of obstetrics and pediatrics at Sentara Obici.

In a 2009 survey conducted by the Leapfrog Group, Obici was one of four hospitals in the state that had zero elective births. For purposes of the study, an elective birth was any birth by Caesarean section of induction between 37 and 39 weeks gestation without a medical reason.

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Leapfrog was contracted by the March of Dimes to look into the issue across Virginia, Wing said.

“The number one thing is when you compare women who go into labor naturally versus those who are induced, both mother and baby do better with natural labor,” Wing said.

“When you induce earlier than 39 weeks you have a two-fold chance of a Caesarean,” Wing said.

Research shows that a significant number of babies born before the end of the gestation period 39 weeks develop more health issues, typically of a respiratory nature, Wing said. The last few weeks of gestation are crucial for lung and brain development.

The problem of elective early births first came to the spotlight several years ago, Wing said.

According to Wing, mothers used to ask for early inductions because they wanted to have their babies when their family was in town, before their husbands were deployed, because they lived far away from the hospital or when they wanted their babies to be born on a certain day — along with many other reasons.

Obici does allow for early births on rare occasions like high blood pressure, bleeding problems, abnormal heart rate in the baby or abnormal growth in the baby.

“We have been fortunate that we have had none for over two and a half years now,” Wing said.

Because of the focus on early or elective births, the Women’s Clinical Effectiveness Councils and the OB Right program developed guidelines to cut down on the number of elective births, Wing said.

Obici doctors were concerned about the results of early births that they were seeing, so they commenced using certain guidelines prior to the Leap Frog survey, Wing said.

They began educating and counseling their patients about the dangers of early births, and only inducing mothers early in the case of medical issues which put the life of the mother and child in danger.

“We pride ourselves on the quality of care we provide our patients,” said Hattie Boone, Director of the Women’s Center and Nursery. “We take that to heart, every patient, every time, every day.”

Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, as well as hospitals in Blacksburg and Lynchburg, also achieved the rate of zero elective early births.