Hospital Details Make a Difference for the Mom-to-Be
Making your birth plan? Here’s what you need to consider to make sure where you deliver can accommodate all of your preferences.
The day you meet your baby is one of those life events you remember forever. Her little face. His tiny hands and feet. Finally, you’re face to face.
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Your birthing center can enhance those first memories, so look for the right fit.
“There are a lot of options and choices for today’s expectant mother about where to deliver her baby,” says OB/GYN Rebecca Starck, MD, Department Chair of Regional Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cleveland Clinic. “You’ll want to make sure the hospital you select can accommodate all of the preferences you outlined in your birth plan.”
For instance, some women want to use only natural methods, such as showering or rolling on a birthing ball, to manage labor pains. Other women opt for epidurals or medications to control pain.
Choosing a birthing center can be complicated. You might be limited to a particular hospital depending on where your doctor practices. Perhaps your age or health puts you in the high-risk category. That classification also may limit your choice of hospitals.
“Whatever birthing center you choose, the important thing is that it embraces best practices in its birthing services,” Dr. Starck says.
For example, Fairview Hospital where Dr. Starck practices, delivers nearly 4,600 babies annually. It offers in-house anesthesia and 24/7 OB/GYN coverage. Its experienced nurses and lactation consultants serve as coaches and confidants.
“There’s a great deal of support at Fairview Hospital, which gives women a lot of comfort,” Dr. Starck says. “Our nurses and doctors have seen and done it all.”
That experience, along with the hospital’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), influenced Nicole Herbst’s hospital choice.
“My husband, Rob, and I were finally expecting our first child after four years of trying to conceive,” says Ms. Herbst, 40. “We struggled with infertility, plus medically, I’m considered ‘advanced maternal age.’ I liked the fact that Fairview had a NICU, just in case there were unforeseen complications. It made me feel more comfortable about giving birth there.”
Birthing trends today differ significantly from what your parents experienced. One development is family-centered care that begins with your baby’s birth. Family-centered care includes:
Other factors can help reinforce an expecting mom’s confidence in her choice. For instance, hospitals with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative designation show that their maternity options meet a global gold standard of care. Fairview Hospital is one of 175 U.S. hospitals with this designation.
Whatever route your pregnancy journey takes, keep an open mind, says Ms. Herbst, whose birth plan included natural childbirth, plus an epidural.
“I had an unplanned C-section and spent five nights in Fairview Hospital,” says Ms. Herbst about her daughter’s birth in March 2014. “It was challenging, but we’re on track now.”