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Is It Worth It? (Full length)

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Dr. Catherine Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: "Catherine Y. Spong, MD; Associate Director of Extramural Research; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH."

[MUSIC IN]
DR. CATHERINE SPONG: Pregnancy, we call it nine months, but in actuality it's 10 months. It's 40 weeks.

Heather Spohr talks on camera in a home setting.
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: "Heather Spohr, Mother; Pregnancy and parenting blogger; The Spohrs Are Multiplying."

A woman rubs her exposed pregnant belly.

HEATHER SPOHR: I think that there is this sort of feeling out there that once they get to 36 weeks, it's 9 months and we're told that pregnancy is 9 months long.  And so you get to 36 weeks, you think, "Okay, well I'm done," and you're not. You still have four more weeks.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: It's very, very important, if you can, to wait for delivery until 39 weeks.

A mother plays with her newborn while sitting in a hospital bed. She touches her finger to the baby's nose and he reacts.

SPONG: Because that—after 39 weeks your risks are much less for many complications.

A health professional holds a stethoscope up to an infant's chest while the infant rests in an incubator in the hospital.

SPONG: Babies can develop lung problems.

Another infant rests in an incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). An eye mask covers the infant's face.

SPONG: They can also have difficulty with vision and hearing later in life.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: The baby's brain almost doubles in size in the last several weeks of pregnancy.

GRAPHICS SLIDE
Animated graphic shows illustration of the size of baby's brain at 35 weeks of gestation and then the size of a baby's brain at 39 to 40 weeks of gestation. The illustration of the brain at 35 weeks is smaller with fewer contours in the brain. The baby's brain at 39 to 40 weeks of gestation is larger with more definition and a greater amount of contours.
Text at the top of the graphic reads: "A baby's brain at 35 weeks weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 39 to 40 weeks."

Text at the bottom of the graphic reads: "Adapted from material developed by the March of Dimes."

SPONG: And the brain is forming all of the connections that are going to be important for coordination, for movement, and for learning.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

Dr. Spong reviews and writes notes on paperwork in a hospital setting.

SPONG: Data from the National Institutes of Health has shown a dramatic increase in those risks—those respiratory complications, those infections—for babies who were born at 37 weeks and 38 weeks. And that even lasted right into the end of the 38th week.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: In fact, there's a 20% increase in these complications for those babies. So even just a couple of days at 38 weeks and 4 days or 38 weeks and 5 days, you still have a significant increase in complications as compared to waiting to the 39 weeks.

Spohr pushes her daughter in a stroller while walking down the sidewalk with her husband.

SPOHR: There is this sort of like misconception that the last four weeks, the babies are just fattening up.

Spohr talks on camera in a home setting.

Spohr plays with her daughter while holding her on her hip and walks indoors.

SPOHR: But they are still learning how to breathe and their brains are learning the wiring and there's just so much going on; and it's worth a little bit of discomfort to have a healthy baby.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: Babies who are born in this late preterm period who don't have the benefit of developing all of the connections in a healthy environment inside the womb may be at higher risk later on in life of learning difficulties, difficulties with reading, difficulties with spelling. 

Spohr plays on the floor with her daughter in a home setting. The daughter plays with toys.

SPONG: So those are the reasons you don't want to electively deliver early or deliver less than 39 weeks, because you want to optimize the outcome for your baby and for your baby's brain.

Dr. Debra Bingham talks on camera in a playground setting.

Text appears at the bottom of the screen that reads: "Debra Bingham, Dr/PH, RN; VP of Research, Education and Publications; Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses."

DR. DEBRA BINGHAM: If a baby's not ready to be born, then they end up needing more intensive care.

A mother's hands rest on the head and hand of a premature infant who is sleeping in an incubator in the NICU. Monitoring tubes are hooked up to the baby's nose, mouth and stomach.

Text appears under the video footage of the infant that reads: "Babies born at 37 weeks are four times more likely to be admitted to the NICU than babies born at 39 to 41 weeks."

BINGHAM: They often have breathing problems; they have problems with their temperatures; they have problems with feeding and they are often separated from their parents—and may not go home with their parents—…

Dr. Bingham talks on camera in a playground setting.

BINGHAM: … at the time that the mother is ready to go home.  And that's very painful.

A mother pushes her daughter in the swing on the playground.
Two young girls spin around while seated on a tire swing on the playground.
Dr. Bingham talks on camera in a playground setting.

A young girl swings from a handle bar while playing on the playground.

BINGHAM: The safest for both mother and baby is to let labor begin on its own—to actually trust that a woman's body, who knew how to grow a baby, also knows when it's time to have their baby.

Spohr types at her computer in a home setting.

Spohr talks on camera in a home setting.

SPOHR: I get it. I really do. I know the discomfort and the physical pain. But your child could be developmentally and physically impaired for life because you don't want to wait that extra week, that extra day even. It's just not worth it.

Framed family photographs in Heather's home show a picture of her daughter and a picture of Heather holding her daughter.

SPOHR: It's a hard thing to be pregnant but it's a harder thing to have a sick child.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: If there's no risks—everything's healthy for the mom and the baby—you want to wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver. By saying wait till 39 weeks doesn't mean you deliver at 39 weeks. It means you at least pass 39 weeks before you deliver.  It's not that many weeks.  It's about a month of your life.

A young boy plays on the playground.

SPONG: And, in fact, you will have a life-long impact for that baby. That baby will have a life of at least 70 to 90 years, we would hope. And by improving the health of that baby, by letting that baby get born at term, you're improving the life-long health of that baby.

A mother holds her sleeping baby while sitting in a rocking chair. She kisses the baby's hand and cheek.

SPONG: The more time your baby spends inside in a healthy womb the better off he or she will be. 

A girl tickles her younger sister on the playground.

SPONG: Sometimes this isn't possible, but when it is, it's worth it.

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: Give your baby the best chance at life. If you can, wait for it.  Don't rush it.

GRAPHICS SLIDE
 "National Child and Maternal Health Education Program; www.nichd.nih.gov/ncmhep/IsItWorthIt;
 1-800-370-2943."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services logo, National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo included at the bottom of the screen.

 

Fade to black screen.

[MUSIC OUT]

 

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Is It Worth It? (60 sec)

Video/Graphics

Audio

Image of moving sonogram shows a fetus in the womb with heart visibly beating.  Text at the bottom of the screen reads: "Many pregnant women are now requesting to deliver before 39 weeks…"

[MUSIC IN]
[SOUND] Heartbeat

Dr. Catherine Spong talks on camera in an office setting
Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: "Catherine Y. Spong, MD; Associate Director of Extramural Research; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH."

DR. CATHERINE SPONG: Pregnancy, we call it nine months, but in actuality it's 10 months. It's 40 weeks.

A mother plays with her newborn while in her hospital bed. She touches her finger to the baby's nose and he reacts.

SPONG: The baby's brain almost doubles in size…

Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: …in the last several weeks of pregnancy.

Graphic shows illustration of a baby's brain at 35 weeks of gestation and a baby's brain at 39 to 40 weeks of gestation. The illustration of the brain at 35 weeks is smaller with fewer contours in the brain. The baby's brain at 39 to 40 weeks of gestation is larger with more definition and a greater amount of contours.
Text in graphic reads: "A baby's brain at 35 weeks weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 30 to 40 weeks."
Copyright information at the bottom of the graphic reads: "2011 March of Dimes Foundation; Image for illustrative purposes only."

SPONG: And the brain is forming all of the connections that are going to be important for coordination, for movement and for learning.

Dr. Debra Bingham talks on camera in a playground setting.
Text appears at the bottom of the screen that reads: "Debra Bingham, Dr/PH, RN; VP of Research, Education and Publications; Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses."

DR. DEBRA BINGHAM: It's important that we not just try to pick a date on the calendar and say, "That's when I'm going to have my baby."

A mother holds up her four year-old daughter as she swings through the monkey bar rings on a jungle gym.

 

Bingham talks on camera in a playground setting.

BINGHAM: For most healthy women, the body will go into labor at the time that's best suited for the baby's brain development and for the baby's health.

Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: It's very, very important, if you can, to wait for delivery until 39 weeks.

A woman rubs her exposed pregnant belly.

 

Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: Because that – after 39 weeks your risks are much less for many complications.

A mother holds her sleeping baby while sitting in a rocking chair. She tickles the baby's chin with her finger and kisses the baby's hand.

 

Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: By letting that baby get born at term you're improving the life-long health of that baby.

Text appears on screen that reads: "National Child and Maternal Health Education Program; www.nichd.nih.gov/ncmhep/IsItWorthIt"
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services logo, National Institutes of Health logo, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo included at the bottom of the screen.

 

Fade to black.

[MUSIC OUT]

 

Back to Video Page

Is It Worth It? (30 sec)

Video/Graphics Audio

Image of moving sonogram shows a fetus in the womb with heart visibly beating. Text at the bottom of the screen reads: "Many pregnant women are now requesting to deliver before 39 weeks…"

[MUSIC IN]
[SOUND] Heartbeat

Dr. Catherine Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

DR. CATHERINE SPONG: Pregnancy, we call it nine months, but in actuality it's 10 months. It's 40 weeks.

Split screen shows Dr. Spong on the left side of the screen in her lab coat taking a call on her cell phone and looking at paperwork in a hospital setting.
Text appears on the right side of the screen that reads: "…better outcomes are associated with births after 39 weeks…"

 

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting. Text appears at bottom of screen that reads: "Catherine Y. Spong, M.D.; Associate Director of Extramural Research; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH."

SPONG: It's very, very important, if you can, to wait for delivery until 39 weeks. Because that – after 39 weeks your risks are much less for many complications.

Split screen shows text on left side of screen that reads: "…better outcomes for your baby's lungs, ears, eyes, brain…" Right side of screen shows close up of a baby smiling.

 

Dr. Spong talks on camera in an office setting.

SPONG: By letting that baby get born at term you're improving the life-long health of that baby.

Text appears on screen that reads: "National Child and Maternal Health Education Program; www.nichd.nih.gov/ncmhep/IsItWorthIt"
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services logo, National Institutes of Health logo, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo included at the bottom of the screen.

 

Fade to black

[MUSIC OUT]

 

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Last Updated Date: 05/03/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 05/03/2013