Photo courtesy of MemorialCare.

By: Shari Kelly, RN, MSN, executive director, BirthCare Center, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach

Deciding to have a baby is an exciting time in one’s life. But with that euphoria will come a sense of duty and obligation. It is important to think through all the complexities that come with being pregnant and knowing your own health and body to ensure you make the best choices for you and your baby.

Pre-conception planning, and even planning once you first realize you are pregnant is crucial. There are important things you need to ask yourself. Is this your first pregnancy? Are you over the age of 35? Do you have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes? Knowing the answers to your questions will help you know if you are considered high-risk or not – determining if your fetus has a higher-than-normal chance of experiencing complications.

In addition, some women have routine pregnancies, but once they go into labor, they could be diagnosed with preeclampsia, or needing an emergency C-section.

It is easy to be tempted to have your baby where there are ocean views, a champagne toast dinner, and separate sleeping quarters for your significant other. Especially since nobody ever wants to imagine that anything could go wrong. And thousands of women have healthy pregnancies and deliveries each day.

However, should the need arise, and your maternity journey or birth care plan take an unexpected turn for the worse, you want the peace of mind knowing that you and your baby will have the highest level of care. Quality health care for you and your baby should be considered among all the other enticing amenities.

MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach is unique as it’s the only hospital in LA and Orange Counties that has maternal and neonatal care under one roof. This means that you will never be separated from your baby. In some cases, a mom can deliver at a hospital of her choosing, but if there is a complication and that hospital doesn’t have the highest level of care possible, your baby could be transported to another hospital, like Miller Children’s & Women’s. Mom will need to stay at her current hospital until she’s well enough to be discharged.

Miller Children’s & Women’s is a level IV NICU, which is the highest designation possible in California, meaning they can care for babies as small as less than 2 pounds. In addition, Miller Children’s & Women’s has a neonatologist, perinatologist/laborists (high-risk pregnancy doctor), intensivists in house 24/7. You or your baby will never have to wait for a specialist to arrive when you deliver at Miller Children’s & Women.

In addition, should your baby need follow-up care to help meet developmental milestones, having a children’s hospital woven into the care will ensure your child will be cared for into adolescence. Miller Children’s is high-ranking in maternity by U.S. News & World Report for their clinical excellence.

Beyond clinical excellence, Miller Children’s & Women’s offers private rooms on most occasions, unless extreme circumstances present themselves. Supportive care including lactation consultants, mentor programs and support for mom and baby with classes and support groups – Miller Children’s & Women’s ensures mom and babies comfort needs are met.

Although some amenities may lure you to choose that hospital to deliver, remember that clinical excellence and supportive care should be your most important concern in your decision making.