The safest place to have a baby

Whether it’s your first or third baby, mothers-to-be develop a birth plan. A birth plan is a way to determine your goals, wishes and expectations of your labor experience, as well as an effective way to communicate them with your caregivers.

One the most crucial decisions for your birth plan is where to have your baby. While more than 98 percent of births in the United States take place in a hospital, some mothers choose to give birth at home or a free-standing birth center. Home births and birthing centers can be appealing options for mothers that may be apprehensive about a hospital-setting, especially during the era of COVID-19, or the desire for less interventions, or a more “natural” birth experience.

If you choose to deliver outside of a hospital and an emergent issue arises, you and/or your baby may need to be transported to a hospital to receive an appropriate level of care. Hospitals are the safest place for both mom and baby when it comes to the labor and delivery process.

Most mothers-to-be don’t want to think about complications that could arise during and after delivery, but delivering at a hospital that’s equipped to care for all circumstances, can give mothers peace of mind knowing that she and her baby will be taken care of by experts.

MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach is the only hospital in Los Angeles and Orange Counties where expectant moms and their babies receive advanced care by in-house experts under one roof. Miller Children’s & Women’s offers 24/7 presence of sub-specialist physicians who underwent additional training to handle the complexities of high-risk pregnancies, prematurity and neonatal care, including maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists and OB hospitalists.

OB hospitalists are physicians who work 12- to 24-hour shifts exclusively at the hospital to assist an attending OB/GYN, or, if the woman’s regular physician can’t be there, to step in and care for a patient through labor and delivery. OB hospitalists are board-certified in obstetrics and have significant experience in safe delivery techniques useful in difficult situations, such as a baby in breech position, multiple births and extended labor.

At the Cherese Mari Laulhere BirthCare Center – a level IV maternity center – maternal-fetal medicine specialists provide immediate and, when needed, continuing care for women after childbirth. If a delivery requires special circumstances, maternal-fetal medicine specialists are available 24/7 to intervene and provide hands-on care during delivery. Often at other hospitals, maternal-fetal medicine specialists only act as consultants. This hands-on care helps ensure the health of the mother and baby.

If a newborn needs immediate care, neonatologists arrive to the delivery room. Miller Children’s & Women’s has the fifth largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in California and cares for the most low birthweight babies in LA County, Orange County and the Inland Empire. The NICU has a level IV designation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which means that it has advanced care capabilities to care for the sickest babies.

With comprehensive, expert services under one roof, the team at Miller Children’s & Women’s offers specialized care tailored to the needs of each family. To learn more, visit millerchildrens.org/Firsts.

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