39 Weeks

Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait is a new public education and awareness campaign funded by the March of Dimes to raise awareness about the important development that occurs during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The aim of the campaign is to encourage women to allow labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy and dispel the myth that it’s safe to schedule a delivery before 39 weeks of pregnancy without a medical need.

The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, Inc. (FAHSC) is implementing the “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign in Florida with funding from the March of Dimes to increase the understanding of the importance of the last weeks of pregnancy and the contribution of this period to healthy fetal development and reduced health complication for mothers and babies. FAHSC is dedicated to strengthening maternal and child health and ensuring access to a continuum of affordable and quality health-related services so that every baby gets the best possible start in life.

Developed in 1991 in response to Florida’s high infant mortality rate by Governor Lawton Chiles, FAHSC is a statewide network of 32 community-based organizations working to reduce Florida’s infant mortality rate and improve the lives of pregnant women and their families. The 32 Coalitions are non-profit organizations with vast networks of public and private partnerships including medical professionals, hospitals, schools, charities, social service agencies and other organizations such as the March of Dimes and the United Way. Healthy Start provides a range of services, including care coordination and outreach, breastfeeding and childbirth education, parenting education and support, smoking cessation assistance, nutritional services and counseling, psychosocial counseling, home visits and many other services.

The Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative at the Lawton & Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, University of South Florida, has also received funding from the March of Dimes for the” Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” initiative. The Collaborative’s efforts will focus campaign efforts on health care providers in order to raise awareness and change provider, payer and policymaker attitudes, practices and procedures.

The Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative (FPQC) seeks to improve maternal and infant health by improving the quality of health care for all women and infants in Florida before, during and after pregnancy. The Collaborative also participates in the March of Dimes’ Big 5 Initiative along with California, Illinois, New York and Texas. These five states account for nearly 40 percent of all births in the United States each year and have joined together to reduce preterm births.

Learn more about the 39 Weeks initiative from the March of Dimes.