EvergreenHealth reports historically low induced labor rates

EvergreenHealth - Contributed Art
— image credit: Contributed Art

EvergreenHealth officials announced that the medical center has had zero elective inductions for early term pregnancies – those between 37 and 39 weeks gestation – since the third quarter of 2013, according to data collected by the Washington State Hospital Association’s Partnership for Patients initiative. This announcement comes on the heels of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reveals a national decline in induction rates for single births for the first time in 20 years.

“The health of newborns and moms is always our top priority, and part of that means we wait for birth to occur naturally when it is safe to do so,” EvergreenHealth CEO Bob Malte said. “Our goal is for spontaneous labor at or after 39 weeks whenever medically possible, and we are very proud of our providers and staff for coming together and taking great strides to exceed national averages.”

According to the CDC’s report, the rate of induced labor for single births nationwide is declining for the first time in two decades. Across the U.S., rates decreased from 23.7 percent in 2011 to 23.3 percent in 2012 for both medically necessary and elective inductions, a trend encouraging to the CDC.

Risks of induced labor can include mandatory caesarian section and, in some cases, increased risk for neonatal infection and respiratory complications. The CDC advises against induced labor for babies before 39 weeks gestation unless medically necessary.

While some medical indicators mandate induced labor, particularly in high risk pregnancy, EvergreenHealth providers evaluate each opportunity for the safety and optimal health of the baby and mother, said Trish Anderson, RN, director of women and children’s programs at EvergreenHealth.

According to Anderson, the induced labor rate is a point of pride for EvergreenHealth and an earned milestone. In 2010, EvergreenHealth reported an elective induction rate between 7 and 10 percent for the gestational period and underwent a thorough review of the health care system’s processes to achieve healthy, full-term deliveries when medically possible.

“EvergreenHealth used a wealth of data and tapped into its leadership capabilities to produce remarkable results. The organization’s transparency and willingness to evaluate its best practices mean more babies are getting the healthiest possible start in life,” said Dr. Jeff Thompson, principal of health care consultancy Mercer. Prior to joining Mercer, Dr. Thompson served as chief medical officer for the Washington State Health Care Authority where he worked with the legislature and health care organizations to establish labor induction best practices.

Low early-term induction rates are just one of the ways EvergreenHealth Maternity Care provides high quality care for mothers and babies. The center has been recognized with a five-star rating for nine consecutive years from HealthGrades, the nation’s leading provider of independent hospital rankings, and was the first in the U.S. designated as a Baby-Friendly hospital from UNICEF and World Health Organization.

For more information about EvergreenHealth, visit or call 425-899-3000.

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