Published on March 31, 2014

March of Dimes recognizes Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County's top mother/baby care

NEW ALBANY, Miss. - Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County has been named as a top hospital for delivery care by the March of Dimes. The recognition is for being among the leading hospitals nationally to reduce the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, this will give more babies a healthy start in life.

"We're proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized this problem in our community and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary," said Walter Grace, the administrator and CEO of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County.

In Mississippi, state health officials recommend keeping the elective induction and cesarean rate before 39 weeks below five percent. Baptist Union County is among best scoring hospitals in the nation with no reported cesarean induced labors before 39 weeks in the last two years.

"The last weeks of pregnancy are important. Babies aren't just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs," Scott Berns, MD, MPH, senior vice president and deputy medical director for the March of Dimes, explained. "I commend Baptist Union County for being a champion for babies and mothers."

Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year, and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

Through Strong Start, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that "Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait." The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. The March of Dimes offers professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit

Baptist Union County offers a variety of health care services, including adult and pediatric inpatient services, labor and delivery, outpatient and laser surgery and a 24-hour emergency room. Baptist Union County also offers imaging and laboratory services, including an American College of Radiology-accredited MRI machine. For more information about Baptist Union County, please call 662-538-7631, or visit

Contact Us

Claire Hick

Senior Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: 901-227-3527

Nancy Kidd

Director of Physicians Relations & Marketing, Baptist Union County
Phone: 662-720-5432