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Let Labor Begin Naturally: Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait

PHOTO: The Tennessee Department of Health has partnered with the March of Dimes, the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, and the Tennessee Hospital Association to lower the number of babies born before 39 weeks. Photo credit: "Vanessa P."
PHOTO: The Tennessee Department of Health has partnered with the March of Dimes, the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, and the Tennessee Hospital Association to lower the number of babies born before 39 weeks. Photo credit: "Vanessa P."
March 31, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Every single day can make a difference in the healthy development of a baby, so a new campaign is telling mothers across Tennessee to wait until labor begins on its own. Christian Emmert is a mother of two and a leader with Attachment Parenting International. She said a lot of important development happens in the last few weeks and days before birth - so if the pregnancy is healthy, it's best to let nature run its course.

"It's been sort of common to start scheduling births, to make it a little bit more planned and convenient," Emmert said, "but the longer you can let the baby stay in, the better the outcome on the outside with brain development, with healthy lungs, things like that. So, it's better if baby can come when baby is ready and when your body is ready."

With the latest science showing that babies are not fully developed until they reach at least 39 weeks, Emmert said the Healthy Tennessee Babies campaign is also aimed at educating health care providers.

"If you've got a doctor that's been out there delivering babies for 30 or 40 years, the things that he was taught in medical school are going to be a little bit different than the things that are coming out now," she said. "So, even the doctors need to be educated about this."

In Tennessee, about one of every eight babies is born prematurely. In addition to the greater risk for health problems, prematurity is one of the leading causes of infant deaths in the state.

More information is available at www.healthytennesseebabies.com.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN