A client shared with me her notes after a hospital tour. This is a facility with a strong reputation for both natural birth AND high risk situations, which I learned first hand as I birthed my 23 week preemie there! I was thrilled to read about their policies:
· Get hooked up to contraction monitors for the first 20 minutes after check in to confirm labor, then monitors removed. After that, only intermittent monitoring with a doppler.
· IVs are not standard. Heplocks are, but you can refuse.
· Consumption of clear liquids are fine, including jello, broth, popsicles, etc. And if you have been laboring a long time, they bring you peanut butter, granola, or cheese and crackers if your doc is OK with it.
· They made several references to value of freedom of movement and how they want moms to walk throughout labor. They have rocking chairs in all the rooms and provide birthing balls for all moms if requested. I’ve heard they have birthing bars, but there was no reference to any.
· They encourage laboring in the tub in each bathroom and allow you to bring in a rented tub for the birth itself. Their in-room tubs aren’t quite big enough to birth in, but they have rooms configured for bringing in a birthing tub.
· All babies are placed onto mom’s chest prior to any measuring, checking, etc and stay there through delivery of placenta, at a minimum.
· All assessments are done in the room and all are done with the baby on mom’s chest except for about 5 minutes to weigh, measure, check respiration and reflexes. Someone asked about bili lights for jaundice; they bring those into the rooms rather than taking the baby away.
· They made lots and lots of references to skin-to-skin and discouraging any visitors for the first two hours until after mom and baby have breastfed and had time to bond. They also made several references about why skin-to-skin was better than warmers.
· Babies are not bathed until sometime between 7 and 10 hours after birth and then it is done by dad in the postpartum room.
· They expect baby to breastfeed within the first hour and will send in a lactation consultant if you haven’t been able to.
· They showed us a nursery, but said not to expect any babies to actually be in it because they expect and plan for both mom and dad to room in until the baby goes home. They provide a 7-foot-long bed for dad in the postpartum rooms and a rocking chair.
· Labor rooms have iPod docking stations, really dim lights, and a very nice overall feel.
· Epidurals were referenced, but the vibe was clearly that they expected you not to have one.
I share this to let you know that hospitals can implement mother-baby friendly procedures – as consumers we need to start expecting this level of care!
* Depending on mother’s personal situation & choices this list may be altered – if you choose an epidural then an IV is mandatory, etc.