Nebraska health officials want every healthy pregnancy to last at least 39 weeks and eliminate "elective" pre-term births. The state is joining with March of Dimes to decrease the number of premature births.
A baby born before it has reached full term is never ideal. But sometimes there's no way to get around it. But state health officials say a baby should never be delivered early out of convenience.
Doctor Todd Lovgren with Methodist Women's Hospital says and elective pre-term birth, either through induction or c-section, can rob the baby of a critical stage of development.
"Those last few weeks are critical," says Lovgren. "There's actually been very recent research that has shown that a baby that is born at 37 weeks compared with 39 weeks has a very different rate of admission to a [neonatal intensive care unit]."
The March of Dimes plans a public service announcement campaign urging doctors and expectant mothers to wait for labor to begin on it's own if the pregnancy is healthy.