There are so many choices to make during pregnancy. What theme will the nursery be? Which stroller will be best? Which name will be perfect for the little one? Parents research hours as to which products are the best for the gift registry but often neglect spending just as much time researching the best birthing center. The goal of the Maternity Care Project is to be a resource for new and expecting parents in Michigan to educate themselves on the choices they have during pregnancy.

For the most part, women go to the birthing center (hospital) her doctor is affiliated with. Guess what? YOU HAVE A CHOICE! What if you’re considered high-risk for a premature birth and the birthing center your doctor delivers at does not have the proper Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to care for a preemie or an infant with special circumstances? What if your doctor delivers at a hospital with sub-par patient safety ratings? The Maternity Care Project has every birthing center in Michigan listed with various safety measurements included to help you in your decision-making process. CLICK HERE for birthing center safety ratings.

Another goal of the Maternity Care Project is to reduce the infant mortality rate in Michigan and reduce the rate of unnecessary cesarean delivery, otherwise known as C-sections. According to the CDC, in 2018, the U.S. C-section rate average was 31.9% with Michigan ranking 20th for the highest rate of C-sections among states at 32.1%. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the ideal C-section rate (country average) should be around 15%. When C-section rates in a country move towards 15%, there is a significant decrease in maternal and newborn deaths. When the rate goes over 15%, there is no evidence that death rates improve – therefore the risks outweigh the benefits.

Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. By definition, infant mortality does not include still birth babies but does include neonatal death (less than 28 days since birth) and perinatal death (28 to 364 days after birth). Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health status of the current population and is used to predict the health trends of the next generation. In 2019, according to the CDC within the United States, Michigan ranked 15th for the highest rate of infant mortality with 6.33 infant deaths per 1,000 births. The national average was 5.6. CLICK HERE for Infant Mortality Rankings by State.

Receiving prenatal care, even before conception, can aid in identifying issues that may affect the health of the baby and in turn reduce the risk of infant death. Infant mortality can be directly linked to several causes, including complications arising due to a preterm birth or low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death (SIDS), birth defects, and accidents. Regular prenatal visits can help insure that your baby is growing at a healthy rate and can mediate complications that may lead to preterm birth. CLICK HERE for more information regarding the Importance of Prenatal Care.

A significant contribution in reducing the risk of infant death is prenatal and newborn screening. Screening is conducting right after birth so that if any ailments are present, but not readily noticeable, treatment can begin immediately and possibly save an infant’s life. CLICK HERE for a list of Prenatal Tests, find out which ones are standard, and which are optional.

Lastly, if your doctor, certified nurse-midwife or other health professional recommends that you deliver your baby earlier than 39 weeks gestation, please question why. The best advocate for you IS YOU! A baby is not considered full-term until after 39 weeks gestation. CLICK HERE to better understand the risks of Elective Early Delivery.

The Maternity Care Project is powered by the Economic Alliance for Michigan.