UnitedHealthcare, part of UnitedHealth Group of Minnetonka, says it is expanding efforts to reduce the number of pre-term C-sections that aren’t medically required.
The company says some of the 1.2 million C-sections performed annually are elective and medically unnecessary. Many, of course, are needed, because of fetal distress and other medical issues.
With the support of the March of Dimes. the nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, UnitedHealthcare is working with physicians and hospitals to improve the health of newborns by reducing unnecessary C-sections that may put them at risk.
“Based on ongoing review of our own data as well as a recently released national research study, we know reducing the overall number of elective caesarean sections will translate to fewer NICU admissions and fewer health complications for newborns,” said Dr. Tina Groat, national medical director of Women’s Health for UnitedHealthcare. “The difference of health outcomes between 37 weeks gestation and 39 can be alarming, and we are eager to get this important message out.”
Said Dr. Alan R. Fleischman, senior vice president and medical director for the March of Dimes: “The simple message is: ‘Please don’t schedule a C-section prior to 39 weeks unless it is medically necessary.’”
UnitedHealthcare has enhanced its Healthy Pregnancy Program Web site, www.healthy-pregnancy.com, and introduced a kit and breastfeeding DVD for expectant and new mothers, which both include information for expectant women about elective deliveries, including risks to mothers and their babies for elective C-sections before 39 weeks’ gestation.