The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Supports Obama Administration's "Strong Start" Initiative

Ob-Gyns Partner with HHS to Improve Health Outcomes for Women and Babies

February 8, 2012

Washington, DC -- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) is proud to partner with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other health care organizations on the "Strong Start" initiative, a national public awareness campaign aimed at improving maternal and infant health outcomes by reducing the number of unnecessary elective deliveries before 39 weeks' gestation.

"The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is pleased to lend its support to the 'Start Strong' initiative that will educate women and physicians about the importance of helping babies get off to a good start in life by not delivering them before 39 weeks," said The College's Executive Vice President Hal C. Lawrence, MD. Each year, approximately 12% of infants-or 1 in 8-in the US are born before reaching full-term. Preterm birth is one of the leading causes of infant morbidity and mortality. It is estimated that more than one-third of all infant deaths are related to being born too early. 

Babies born before 39 weeks for nonmedical reasons are at increased risk for health problems, including low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, feeding problems, and sepsis. The last few weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby's health because they allow the baby's brain and lungs to fully mature and the baby to gain body fat. "The College has long recommended-since at least 1978-that babies not be delivered prior to 39 weeks unless there is a valid, medical reason for the health of the woman and/or the baby," said Dr. Lawrence. Medical indications for delivering early include such serious conditions as preeclampsia or eclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, diabetes, kidney disease, intrauterine growth restriction, or chronic hypertension, among others.


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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.


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American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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