Cherese Mari Laulhere BirthCare Center launches OB hospitalist program easing anxieties for expectant moms

Babies are born on their own schedule – at any time of day or night, on holidays and weekends. This uncertainty can create complicated schedules for obstetricians/gynecologists (OB-GYNs), and often leaves expectant mothers unsure of who will be delivering their baby. To ease some of these anxieties, the Cherese Mari Laulhere BirthCare Center at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach has added OB hospitalists to its comprehensive care team.

Miller Children’s & Women’s is the only hospital in Los Angeles and Orange Counties that delivers comprehensive maternity and pediatric care under one roof, and has maternal-fetal medicine specialists, OB hospitalists, obstetricians and neonatologists on-site 24/7.

An OB hospitalist, also called a laborist, is solely dedicated to caring for women with obstetrical issues while they are in the hospital. Most often, this is for labor. These physicians do not care for their own patients in an office, and only work in the hospital to oversee various obstetrical issues when needed. OB hospitalists provide 24/7 coverage in all areas of obstetrical care when a patient’s primary OB-GYN requests their assistance or cannot get to the hospital in a timely manner.

OB hospitalists have obstetrical training and significant experience in safe delivery techniques useful in difficult situations, such as a baby in breech position, multiple births, and prolonged labor. They stay throughout the day or night with a woman in labor.

“One of the OB hospitalists potentially greatest impacts is to safely lower the overall Cesarean section rate for the hospital,” says Michael Nageotte, M.D., Maternal-Fetal Medicine Sub-Specialist and Associate Chief Medical Officer for the BirthCare Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We are thrilled to have OB hospitalists join the team at Miller Children’s & Women’s. With maternal-fetal medicine sub-specialists and neonatologists already providing 24/7 coverage, we are adding an additional level of safety and service for our expectant mothers and their primary OB-GYN.”

The waiting time for births is unpredictable, and even if the woman’s regular physician is unavailable, the OB hospitalist can stay to guide the birth. That doctor will be there to help with a natural delivery at 3 a.m., instead of a woman having an unplanned C-section because the time of delivery may not be convenient. In other cases, mothers that have a high-risk pregnancy may still be able to have a natural birth. With delivery experts on-site 24/7, natural births are encouraged as much as possible.

“Natural childbirth is better for everybody’s health; for the mom and the baby, and the physician, too,” says Dr. Nageotte.

The BirthCare Center is equipped to handle routine to high-risk pregnancies, so if a delivery isn’t routine, the baby is moved just down the hall to the level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to receive specialized care, if necessary. Neonatologists are on-site 24/7 and arrive immediately in the delivery room if needed. This means that mom and baby will not be separated at two different hospitals.

“Miller Children’s & Women’s is one of the safest places to have a baby in California,” says Dr. Nageotte.

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