CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee hospitals have had a dramatic decrease in elective baby deliveries over the last two years.
Hospitals now have a target of 5 percent. Just a couple of years ago, some had rates of more than 40 percent.
Bridget Hayes, who is director of labor and delivery services at Parkridge East Hospital in Chattanooga, said deliveries became about convenience over the last two decades. But those days are diminishing quickly as a growing amount of research shows that elective procedures can be risky to mother and child.
Chris Clarke, senior vice president for the Tennessee Hospital Association, said almost 16 percent of babies born earlier than 39 weeks of gestation were considered elective in May 2012. Now, that number is below 5 percent.