Did you know that if you have a normal, healthy pregnancy, it’s important to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks? Dr. Karen Cassidy, market medical director for population health at UnitedHealthcare of Tennessee, joined us on a recent episode of Community Healthy Matters to discuss maternal health and the importance of carrying your baby to full term. View her segment here.
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of a woman’s life, but it can also be overwhelming. UnitedHealthcare encourages healthy pregnancies by providing access to prenatal, post-partum and well-child care. They also offer programs and online services to help moms stay healthy throughout their pregnancies and are committed to raising awareness of the importance of full-term deliveries.
One in three women in the U.S. has a C-section, which is a significantly higher rate than the rest of the world. If your pregnancy is healthy, it’s important to carry your baby to full term because babies born before 39 weeks are more likely to have breathing problems and developmental delays. And, premature births before 37 weeks of pregnancy account for 35 percent of all infant deaths. Unless there are medical reasons, give your baby all the time he or she needs to grow, and wait for labor to begin on its own rather than scheduling delivery around your or your doctor’s schedule.
Expectant moms can ensure a healthy delivery by eating well, staying active, getting enough rest, limiting stress, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and keeping up with prenatal appointments. Carefully choosing the right maternity care provider and your birth setting is an important, too. If you are thinking about giving birth at an out-of-hospital birth center or at home, call your insurance provider and make sure you understand your insurance coverage related to those services.
According to Dr. Cassidy, the best thing that an expectant mom can do for her baby is to take care of herself. What’s good for the mom is good for the baby. For more information on maternal care, visit ChildbirthConnection.org or marchofdimes.org/39weeks.