High Rates of Early Elective Delivery at U.S. Hospitals

Between 5 and 40 percent -- or possibly an even percentage -- of births in the United States are induced early without any good medical reason. A new hospital-by-hospital report also found tremendous variation in the rates documented by hospitals voluntarily reporting such "early elective induction" deliveries.

The consequences of such deliveries can be grave; babies born even a few weeks early have a higher risk of death, life-long health problems, feeding problems, and jaundice.

According to USA Today:

"Why are so many early elective deliveries occurring? ... [T]he leading reason (accounting for about 25 percent of early births) was caregiver concern that the mother was overdue."

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