Mississippi State Department of Health

39 Weeks for Healthy Baby


Thirty-nine weeks or more of pregnancy is the new standard of health for babies.


Why wait? Electing to deliver before 39 weeks means that your baby misses the benefits of full development that take place in the last weeks of pregnancy. Waiting for labor to begin on its own, naturally, means your baby is better prepared to meet the world.


Until now, choosing to deliver as early as 37 weeks was considered safe for the baby. But evidence is growing that babies delivered this early are missing out on crucial benefits in development.

For all these reasons, it's best to wait for at least 39 weeks of pregnancy for labor to begin on its own rather than choosing to deliver sooner.

Hospitals and Doctors Support 39 Weeks

The Mississippi Hospital Association and the Mississippi Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both support the 39 weeks initiative. Delivery hospitals in Mississippi are supporting 39 weeks, too. Thirty-six of Mississippi's delivery hospitals – 80% of those in the state – have joined the March of Dimes Banner Program, committing to reduce unnecessary early elective deliveries (before 39 weeks) to 5% or less of all births. To date, more than a dozen hospitals have met this goal and will receive their banner.

Banner Hospitals in Mississippi

Mississippi hospitals which have met the goal of 5% or fewer early elective deliveries.

Mississippi Hospitals in the Banner Program

Mississippi hospitals that have committed to the Banner Program's goals by pledging to reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy are:

  • Anderson Regional Medical Center
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital-De Soto
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital, Golden Triangle
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital Union County
  • Central Mississippi Medical Center
  • Forrest General Hospital
  • Garden Park Medical Center
  • Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center
  • Greenwood Leflore Hospital
  • Grenada Lake Medical Center
  • Hancock Medical Center
  • Highland Community Hospital
  • Kings Daughters Medical Center
  • Keesler Medical Center
  • Madison County Medical Center
  • (Madison River Oaks Medical Center ** Change from Madison County Medical Center**
  • Memorial Hospital, Gulfport
  • Mississippi Baptist Medical Center
  • Natchez Community Hospital
  • South Central Regional Medical Center
  • Wesley Medical Center
  • Natchez Regional Medical Center
  • North Mississippi Medical Center, West Point
  • North Mississippi Medical Center Women's Hospital
  • Northwest MS Regional Medical Center
  • OCH Regional Medical Center
  • Ocean Springs Hospital
  • River Oaks Hospital
  • Singing River Hospital
  • South Sunflower County Hospital
  • St. Dominic/Jackson Memorial Hospital
  • Tri-Lakes Medical Center
  • UMMC Grenada
  • Wayne General
  • Woman's Hospital

Talk to Your Doctor

Let your doctor know that you want the best for your baby. Plan for a full-term delivery, and ask about the medical reasons why early delivery might be necessary.

Find Out More


For more information about Maternal and Child Health Programs and the MCH Block Grant, call 1-800-721-7222.

Your input is important. We want to hear from you about maternal and child health needs, the MCH Block Grant, and programs in Mississippi. Take a moment to share your comments, ideas and concerns with us.

Links referenced on this page
Send us a message online    http://msdh.ms.gov/page/41,0,375.html ok

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

print  close