February 5, 2013

Maury Regional on front lines of reducing early elective deliveries of babies

Columbia, TN – Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) has been among the early advocates to support Healthy Tennessee Babies are Worth the Wait, an initiative aimed at reducing elective deliveries of babies less than 39 weeks in gestation. As part of its commitment to this initiative, the medical center recently entered into a partnership with other institutions that share a goal of improving the health and development of babies born in Tennessee by emphasizing the importance of full-term delivery.

Partners in the Healthy Tennessee Babies are Worth the Wait initiative include the March of Dimes, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care, Tennessee Hospital Association and Tennessee Center for Patient Safety.

Studies have shown that the last few weeks of gestation are vitally important in a baby’s development because major organs including the brain, lungs and liver are in the final crucial stage of growth. Electing to carry a baby to 39 weeks greatly improves the infant’s chances for good physical and developmental health. Infants delivered before they reach a term of 39 to 41 weeks have a greater risk of respiratory and other complications and are more likely to die.

“Over the last several years, the number of elective deliveries of babies of less than 39 weeks gestation has significantly increased, thereby increasing the risk of complications for both mothers and babies,” said Beth Himes, administrative director of women’s & children’s services at MRMC. “We are in full support of the Healthy Babies initiative at Maury Regional. Our obstetricians have embraced this initiative and are not scheduling a birth procedure unless it is medically indicated for either mother or baby before 39 weeks gestation.”

Maury Regional has dedicated an entire floor to mother-baby couplet care. Labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care and obstetrics units are all situated on the medical center’s fourth floor, allowing mothers to go through all stages of labor, delivery and recovery in the same location. Mothers and their newborns room together in one of the medical center’s 11 private rooms, most of which have outside views and each designed to create a welcoming, comforting environment for new mothers and babies. Sleeper sofas are located in the rooms for a family member who wants to stay.

To help new parents prepare for the arrival of their baby, MRMC also offers expectant parent classes, classes on breastfeeding and Lamaze®. Classes for siblings are also available to help older brothers and sisters adjust to the new arrival and parents learn ways to foster self-esteem and promote feelings of self-worth in the older children. Free tours of the women’s floor are conducted for expectant parents and siblings monthly, except for December.

On Tuesday, February 12, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., MRMC and the Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health will host a free seminar entitled “And Baby Makes Three — All You Need to Know about Pregnancy,” in the MRMC Auxiliary Conference Room. The event will provide an opportunity to meet local obstetricians and maternal fetal medicine specialists who will discuss prenatal care, baby’s development during pregnancy and recommendations for induced labor, maternal fetal medicine and genetic counseling. A question and answer session will follow. Free tours of MRMC’s newly renovated women’s floor will also be available after the seminar. Reservations for “And Baby Makes Three” are required and may be made by contacting

To learn more about services available at MRMC for new mothers and babies, visit or call 931.540.4167. To learn more about the Healthy Tennessee Babies are Worth the Wait initiative, visit