The following content is created in consultation with Midwest Business Group on Health. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Chicago's editorial staff. To learn more about the risks of Early Elective Delivery, visit tcyh.org.
How long should a full-term pregnancy last?
If you answered nine months, you're wrong. Despite common beliefs, the ideal pregnancy lasts closer to 10 months. Or, to be more exact, at least 39 weeks. This gestation period gives babies more time to fully develop.
There has been a focus in recent years regarding women having a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the March of Dimes have been promoting the importance of full-term pregnancies—those naturally reaching at least 39 weeks gestation—yet early elective deliveries still account for 10-15 percent of all deliveries.
Research has shown that maternity care is the number one reason for hospitalization among most employee populations and the highest cost is when underdeveloped infants are treated in the neonatal intensive care units of hospitals.
That's why the Midwest Business Group on Health
—a Chicago-based non-profit business coalition comprised of large employers—has partnered with a number of Chicago organizations such as the March of Dimes and the Illinois Department of Public Health to communicate the impact of early elective deliveries to consumers.
In order to take control of your pregnancy, all expecting mothers should consider the following:
Wait 39 Weeks
Getting to at least 39 weeks gives your baby the time he or she needs to grow. Your baby needs these last few weeks to develop important organs such as the brain and lungs. There are medical reasons for an early elective delivery, but convenience should not be one of them.
Understand the Risks
There are many decisions to be made about your pregnancy. Partner with your doctor or caregiver to understand your options and create a birth plan that includes what YOU want done during your pregnancy and delivery. And remember to view the information on early elective deliveries and talk with your doctor about your options.
Take Advantage of Special Resources
Many Chicago-based community organizations offer information and advice to help pregnant mothers and their families have a healthy and successful pregnancy. Learn what your options are for having a healthy pregnancy.