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UAMS Recognized for Healthy Birthing Practices


UAMS MOD and AHA banner for NICU UAMS physicians, nurses and professors from the neonatal intensive care unit and UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology gather around a banner given to UAMS from the March of Dimes and the Arkansas Hospital Association. The banner features a baby that received care in the UAMS NICU. 

UAMS MOD and AHA banner for NICU Pam Brown (right) with the Arkansas Hospital Association, Roxane Townsend (left), vice chancellor for clinical programs and CEO of UAMS Medical Center, and Tina Long (center) of the March of Dimes thanks UAMS nurses, doctors and professors for their work in reducing the number of pregnancies before 39 weeks.

Feb. 21, 2014 | UAMS has been recognized by the March of Dimes and the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA) for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

“Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait” is an effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to encourage women with healthy pregnancies to wait for labor to begin on its own. A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks.

In helping spread the word, the March of Dimes
and AHA recognized physicians in the UAMS
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and College
 of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and
Gynecology during a recent ceremony as one
of 11 hospitals in Arkansas that have met the 
healthy birth criteria.

Roxane Townsend, M.D., vice chancellor for clinical programs and CEO of UAMS Medical Center, highlighted the measures UAMS has taken to ensure that 97 percent of the 3,000 babies born each year at UAMS meet the quality standard established for healthier babies. 

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized this issue and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy,” Townsend said. “Unless medically necessary, our policy requires a series of approvals before a doctor and patient can schedule a delivery
before 39 weeks. This helps to ensure that
babies have an opportunity to fully develop before birth.”

Tina Long, state director of program services at March of Dimes, and Pam Brown, vice president of quality and patient safety at AHA, presented UAMS with a banner that was placed near the NICU.

“As part of the criteria to be recognized, the hospital must have a policy in place to ensure healthy births and to have an early birth rate of 5 percent,” Long said. “We want to recognize UAMS as one of the hospitals that is doing amazing work.”

Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that for all races and ethnicities, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks.

“Through this campaign we are trying to raise the bar for patient safety and to reduce harm to babies,” Brown said. “UAMS is making the difference.”

The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

The AHA assists member hospitals and health care organizations improve the delivery of health care services throughout Arkansas.

Learn more about the campaign at marchofdimes.com/39weeks

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