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Insurers prod docs, hospitals to stop elective early deliveries

The Washington Post / Kaiser Health News, January 23, 2013
While most babies delivered at 38 weeks do not end up in intensive care, research shows they are more likely to have feeding, breathing and developmental problems than those born at 39 or 40 weeks. Since 1979, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recommended against deliveries or induced labor before 39 weeks unless there are medical reasons, such as the mother's high blood pressure or diabetes or signs that the fetus may be in distress. Still, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of U.S. babies every year are delivered early without medical cause, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.