Here are a few critical questions to ask to make sure you make the right choice:
Is it baby friendly? In the old days (and not so old days), nurses would quickly scuttle baby away after delivery to let mom rest peacefully. But this doesn’t facilitate bonding or support nursing (and it’s not that easy to rest when your newborn son or daughter is way down the hall). A hospital that encourages “rooming in” practices, where the baby is with mom 24/7, facilitates bonding, helps mom rest more easily and helps her and her partner figure out how to change that diaper before they are left to their own devices at home. Of course, a hospital should be “mom” friendly, too. This includes providing women continuous support throughout labor, as well as afterward. Those who are exhausted after delivery need to know their newborn is well cared for in the nursery while they are getting some well-deserved recovery sleep.
Does it have an NICU? Don’t take for granted that all hospitals have one – they don’t, and not all are the same. In the event that a baby with critical needs is born in a non-NICU hospital or one not equipped for more significant care, they would need to be transferred to a different facility. Ask what level the NICU is, especially if you are having a high-risk pregnancy. The American Academy of Pediatrics assigns NICUs one of four levels – one being basic care, four being highly specialized critical care -- based on the complexity of care the hospital is equipped to provide, and the age of the premature infant.
Does it have a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist? You probably have an OBGYN, and for most women with normal pregnancies, that’s all you need. But for women of a certain age or who are at risk for complications, MFM specialists are OBGYNs who completed a few extra years of training to subspecialize in high-risk pregnancies. Hospitals with higher level maternity programs have these physicians on-staff and on-call 24/7 -- not just for patients who have been monitored for high-risk issues all along, but in case of an unexpected accident or complication that arises during labor.
Do the rooms offer privacy? New moms need sleep, bonding time with their baby, and the ability to have their partner or family with them for as long as they like or need. Breastfeeding is an important part of new motherhood, and new mothers need their personal space and privacy during feedings. With all the new regulations surrounding health information, you deserve to be in a space where your rights, and the rights of your baby, are protected at all times.
White Plains Hospital has one of the most unrivalled maternity programs in the tri-state area, including a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, Magnet nurses, anesthesiologists and other specialists available or on-staff 24/7. In a survey, 99 percent of patients said they would recommend White Plains Hospital to deliver their friends’ babies. Visit our website to find out more about our Maternity Program.