March of Dimes celebrates NEA Baptist work this week

JONESBORO, Ark. – A banner was presented to NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital this week in honor of a major achievement in the life of newborn children.

NEA Baptist has reduced the number of elective inductions and cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. This will give more babies a healthy start in life, the March of Dimes says.

The banner announcement and celebration was held Wednesday at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital on the third floor lobby near the Women’s Center. See more in the photos below. 

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who recognized the problem of unnecessary early deliveries in our hospital, and put in place policies to avoid scheduling C-sections or inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Brad Parsons, CEO and administrator of NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital.

Those last weeks of pregnancy are important, said Edward R.B. McCabe, MD, PhD, March of Dimes Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.

“Babies aren’t just putting on weight,” McCabe said. “They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs. We commend NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants, the March of Dimes says.  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. Babies who survive an early birth often face lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities.

“It is our goal that our patients receive the best quality care possible, this means safety is our top priority,” says Gina Branscum, Director of Women’s Services for NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, “In order to achieve this, we must educate our colleagues, patients, family members and our community about the importance of newborn care and premature birth. Our staff has done an excellent job.”

Faith Sharp, Director of Maternal Child Health for the March of Dimes says the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.”  This campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 weeks.

The March of Dimes offers both professional and consumer education materials about the critical importance of a full-term pregnancy to the health and well-being of babies.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.  Find out how you can help prevent premature birth and birth defects by joining March for Babies at For the latest resources and information, visit or  Find us on Facebook and Twitter.

NEA Baptist Health System comprises NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital and NEA Baptist Clinic, one of northeast Arkansas’ largest physician groups. The 228-bed hospital offers cancer care, heart care through the Heart Center, labor and delivery services through the hospital’s Women’s Center, as well as a number of inpatient and outpatient services, emergency care, and surgical services including weight loss surgery, neurology, respiratory care, and pulmonary rehabilitation. NEA Baptist Clinic’s over 100 physicians practice in more than 35 specialties and offer a wealth of services, from pediatrics to orthopedic services. For more information about NEA Baptist, please call 870-936-1000 or 870-936-8000 or visit this site or


Press Release/Photos from NEA Baptist Memorial Health

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