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12.1%

February 22, 2013

Choosing to deliver babies early without medical necessity is a common practice -- 12.1 percent of deliveries in the Garden State occur this way. But it is considered unhealthy and can be dangerous, according to the Leapfrog Group, a hospital watchdog organization.

Nevertheless, many doctors, hospitals, and even mothers elect to deliver children before the normal 39 weeks of gestation for convenience' sake. The practice, however, can result in NICU admissions, increased lengths of hospital stays, and higher costs.

A survey of 31 hospitals in the state found that all but four of them had fewer early elective deliveries than last year, although 11 did not meet the target rate of 5 percent. Hackettstown Regional Medical Center (78.6 percent); and Christ Hospital in Jersey City (61 percent) had the worst performance this year. Many hospitals had few, if any, early elective deliveries. Take a look at the full list.

This Number of the Day was edited after it was first posted. The correct rating for Underwood-Memorial Hospital in Woodbury is 0 percent.

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