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Early Baby Deliveries Down in U.S., Survey Says

Newborn is crying
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

The rate of early elective deliveries has taken a substantial drop in the United States, according to hospital watchdog The Leapfrog Group.

Early elective child deliveries, which are "inductions or cesarean procedures performed prior to 39 weeks completed weeks gestation without medical necessity" are risky to both babies and their mothers, according to the site. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised against the practice.

Some mothers, however, have opted to schedule early deliveries, citing such reasons as a preferred doctor being out of town or simply being tired of pregnancy, reports Southern California Public Radio.

The practice, though, can result in babies needing to visit the NICU, which can increase hospital costs for the patients as well as insurance companies.

That's why hospitals and advocacy groups have been working to lower the rate of early deliveries, according to SCPR.

Leapfrog reports that efforts have been successful, as the national average for these types of deliveries is down to 4.6 percent in 2013 from 17 percent in 2010.

"This is one of the most extraordinary examples of progress in healthcare that I've seen in my career," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog, in a statement.

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