Improving Maternity Care

Maternity Care


MBGH, along with the Leapfrog Group, Chicago-area hospitals, health plans and other stakeholders issued a Call to Action in response to the new data finding that thousands of babies are electively scheduled for delivery too early for non-medical reasons, resulting in a higher likelihood of death, being admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and life-long health problems.


MBGH found that by informing hospitals of their status compared to their peers and sharing best practices developed by the March of Dimes and ACOG, over 70% of Illinois hospitals improved their early elective delivery rate within 12 months.

Business Case for Employers

  • Maternity care is the number one reason for hospitalization among most employee populations.
  • The highest cost for maternity care is when a pre-term infant (those born at less than 39 completed weeks of gestation) is treated in the neonatal intensive care unit.
  • Research shows an early elective delivery increases the chance for complications for babies and their mothers.
  • An early elective delivery is performed via cesarean and costs for the patient and employer are dramatically higher than if the patient had waited for childbirth to begin on its own or the baby was delivered vaginally.
  • Preventing complications and C-sections results in system wide savings. A maternal complication during delivery adds almost $1,000 to the cost of care, while an uncomplicated C-section adds nearly $2,000 to the bill.

Project Goals

  • Implement a community health awareness campaign in Chicago and targeted areas of Illinois on early elective deliveries.
  • Work with state agencies to identify and define common metrics that can ensure consistency and accuracy in data reporting to national and state organizations.
  • Work with Illinois maternity hospitals in implementing hard-stop policies for unnecessary early elective deliveries.
  • Work with health plans to adopt benefit design and payment reform strategies that support quality maternity care as well as coordinate efforts to disseminate communications that educate members and physicians about the importance of full-term births.
  • Conduct educational webinars for employers on health issues related to non-medical early elective deliveries and what they can do to promote awareness and education of their covered population on the importance of full-term births.
  • Develop and disseminate a toolkit for employers and community groups.
  • Host a community summit to evaluate the impact of the initiative on elective early births in Illinois.

Project Contacts

If you are interested in Improving Maternity Care within your organization or community, contact Cheryl Larson