Central Georgia Birthing Facilities
BY HAILEY HUDSON JUNE 2019
You’ve revealed the gender, outfitted the nursery, and you’re moving closer and closer to that red-letter date on the calendar. Congratulations, Mama! But before you can welcome your new little bundle of joy, you need to make some decisions about where you’re going to have your baby.
In Central Georgia, expecting mothers have three primary options for labor and delivery: the birthing centers at Coliseum Medical Centers, Houston Healthcare, and Navicent Health. We asked each of these hospitals eight primary questions to determine what expecting mothers can expect. Below, you can read the answers and make the best choice for you and your little one.
Do you allow a doula or midwife to be present during delivery?
Many mothers work with a midwife (a health care provider) or a doula (a childbirth coach) throughout pregnancy, and when the time comes for labor and delivery, they want to have their midwife or doula in the room. Not all hospitals allow this, but every one of Central Georgia’s birthing centers welcomes midwives and doulas to their delivery rooms.
“The anticipation of a new baby is an exciting time for a mother and family,” says the Navicent Health team. “Navicent Health wants to provide mothers and families with a birthing experience that is to be celebrated and remembered.” To support that goal, Navicent allows midwives to perform deliveries just as a physician would.
Cathy Sumner, Director of Women’s Services at Coliseum Medical Centers, explains that Coliseum actually has midwives on staff—“We have seven midwives on the medical staff who are present and deliver patients. We also have patients who choose to use doulas during their labor and delivery.”
Do you offer prenatal classes and if so which ones?
Many hospitals offer a range of prenatal classes that can help prepare new moms to give birth and, once home, to care for their baby. Coliseum, Navicent, and Houston all offer multiple prenatal classes for expecting moms, spouses, and even siblings to take.
“From prepared childbirth and breastfeeding classes to classes for older soon-to-be siblings, we ensure we’re meeting the needs of the entire family,” says Navicent Health. (A complete list of classes can found in the table below and on the hospital websites.)
How closely do you honor a parent’s birth plan?
All three hospitals are willing to accommodate a parent’s birth plan unless something unexpected occurs and a physician advises otherwise.
“We honor birth plans as long as they are not putting the mother or baby in jeopardy and don’t go against our hospital policies,” says Shae Roberts, BSN, RNC-OB, RN Manager of the Women’s Center at Houston Healthcare.
Navicent Health strives to keep mothers informed throughout the delivery process; the doctors offer suggestions if she would like to change her birth plan as the delivery progresses. And at Coliseum, an obstetrician reviews a mother’s birth plan and educates her on the risks and benefits associated with the plan.
What birthing aids are available? Do you offer accommodations for a waterbirth?
Most hospitals provide birthing aids such as a labor bar and birthing balls. For mothers who would like to have a waterbirth—which is believed to produce a more relaxed labor and delivery—Houston and Navicent provide accommodations, but Coliseum does not.
“We offer waterbirth for patients who meet the low risk criteria,” says Dr. Roberts of Houston.
The Navicent Health team offers hydrotherapy during birth and explains the benefits: “Some women find water helps them relax during labor . . . the weightlessness caused by water buoyancy helps with repositioning, comfort, and muscle support.” Laboring in water, the team explains, can also help pelvic floor tissue relax, decreasing the need for an episiotomy.
What are your visitor guidelines and policies? Can siblings visit? What is your policy regarding partners or spouses staying overnight?
“The birth of a child should involve the entire family,” says Navicent Health. The birth of a baby is a special time, and Central Georgia hospitals do their best to include everyone. At Navicent, the mother may choose three visitors to be in the delivery room. Once the mother is in the postpartum unit, Navicent does not limit the number of visitors. Siblings are welcome and a spouse or support person may stay overnight.
“Patients admitted for labor can have up to three visitors at a time in Labor and Delivery,” says Cathy Sumner at Coliseum. Once in the Mother/Baby unit, visitation is three visitors plus Dad (four total). Siblings are welcome and one overnight guest can stay in the room with the mother and baby.
Finally, at Houston Healthcare, three visitors are allowed during labor and delivery; siblings may visit; and one visitor is allowed to spend the night with the patient.
Can a birth photographer attend the birth?
Many families want to document their birth experience by having a professional photographer in the delivery room. All three hospitals allow photographers, but with some caveats. At Coliseum, for instance, all staff involved must give their consent, and photos are not allowed to be explicit.
What level is your NICU (if you have one)?
For babies who are born premature and/or who are ill, a good NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) is a must. NICU’s run in levels, beginning at a level one newborn nursery and ranging to a level four regional NICU.
“Since 1989, Navicent Health has provided the region’s most fragile infants with neonatal intensive care,” says the Navicent Health team. Navicent’s Family Birth Center is one of six regional Perinatal Centers in Georgia. The NICU has 66 beds and stretches across 50,000 square feet to comfortably accommodate families who may be there for a long period of time.
At Coliseum, four neonatologists collaborate with a skilled NICU staff in the level three NICU. It’s in the same unit as both the labor and delivery area and the mother/baby unit, so mothers can be less than a minute away from newborns.
The NICU at Houston Healthcare is a level two.
Are mothers allowed to walk around during labor?
Many mothers like to walk around during labor for extra comfort and to help the baby move downward. All three hospitals allow this, as long as it’s safe in each individual situation.
“If a mother desires to walk during labor she may, as long as the fetal heart tones are stable,” Dr. Roberts at Houston Healthcare says. At Coliseum, if a laboring mother would like to walk, she is welcome to discuss it with her OB provider. And finally, Navicent Health provides telemetry fetal monitors for mothers who would like to stay active. #