PDX Hospitals Banning Early Births

All 17-area hospitals in the greater Portland, Ore. region have agreed to put a stop to elective induction and caesarian section births before 39 weeks, unless they are deemed medically necessary to save the life of the mother or child.

“Starting Sept. 1, birthing may be a little less convenient for Multnomah County mothers and their physicians, but a greater percentage of the babies born here will be healthy as a result of a historic agreement reached this week among local hospitals,” the Portland Tribune reports in a little noticed but significant piece of health care industry news. “All 17 Portland-area hospitals have agreed to put what they call a ‘hard stop’ on elective induction and caesarian section births before 39 weeks, unless those inductions are medically necessary.” The story goes on to note that “induced births even one day before 39 weeks will now require patients to present their case to a designated arbiter at the hospital and prove that there is a medical reason why the early birth should take place.”

And as Conor Friedersdorf points out: “the participating hospitals will take a hit to their profits, make life less convenient for their doctors, and face greater difficulty efficiently allocating beds in the maternity ward. But they’ll also turn out healthier patients.”

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