The response was quick and harsh, with much of the attention focused on the rights of any father, including a major league baseball player, to take time off to be with his family during the birth of a baby. Unfortunately, less attention has focused on the suggestion that it was okay for a woman to have a voluntary Cesarean delivery, scheduled for convenience. This is an important part of the conversation – research shows that early deliveries pose serious risks for both mother and baby.

What happens when a baby is born too soon? The March of Dimes reports that a baby born even a few weeks early can have serious health problems and require care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The baby may have difficulty breathing on her own, feeding, and keeping warm. She may also have difficulty with hearing, vision, sucking, and swallowing – all critical for healthy development in the first few weeks. As a result, a baby born before 39 weeks may have to stay in the hospital longer than a baby who is born later.

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