The time surrounding pregnancy and birth is one of the most exciting and rewarding stages of your life. At The Baby Place at Lutheran Medical Center, we’re here to support you every step of the way, from the time you start planning your pregnancy to after your baby is born.
Your Obstetrician and Medical Team
Johanne Python, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) and chair of the department, advises beginning your search for an obstetrician when you are first thinking of getting pregnant.
“A well-woman checkup will help you prepare your body for pregnancy and also get a sense of how the doctor’s office is set up for pregnant patients,” she says. “Some women may prefer the familiarity of seeing the same OB every time; others may need to schedule appointments at specific times of the day, even if that means seeing different doctors.
“When you choose a Lutheran-affiliated physician, you’ll be getting an expert team of board-certified obstetricians, anesthesiologists, perinatologists and neonatologists,” Dr. Python says. “We can accommodate a wide variety of medical needs and birthing styles, from routine prenatal care and low-intervention births with midwife support to high-risk pregnancies and advanced care from maternal fetal medicine specialists.”
A Warm, Welcoming Place
The Baby Place features 12 private labor and delivery suites with jetted tubs, birthing balls, labor positioning aids, aromatherapy and other amenities.
“We focus on following the mother’s birth plan as closely as possible to give her the best possible experience,” says nurse manager Betsy DeLeon. The nurse-to-patient ratio is generally one to one, which helps ensure personalized care.
DeLeon notes that The Baby Place earned an official “Baby-Friendly” designation in 2018. This means that the facility follows evidence-based standards for promoting bonding and infant feeding.
“We strive to give mothers and babies undisturbed time together, especially in the ‘Golden Hour,’ immediately after birth,” De Leon says. Newborns and their mothers—dads too—can continue to benefit from skin-to-skin contact in one of 40 private, spacious recovery suites. Delayed bathing and rooming together occur in the suite, and certified lactation consultants are available for mothers who choose to breastfeed.
Babies who are born early or who need advanced medical support are cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by a team of neonatologists and pediatricians. Parents are encouraged to stay with their babies in the NICU and participate in the day-to-day care of their newborn.
A Navigator’s Guidance
An excellent way to prepare for giving birth at Lutheran is by making an appointment with an OB nurse navigator. During this 90-minute session, you will review the details of your birth plan, complete pre-admission and insurance paperwork and take a tour of The Baby Place. Phone appointments are also available.
“We’ll answer any questions you may have and connect you to resources, including prenatal and parenting classes, as well as government benefits,” says nurse navigator Kim Wood, who helped start the program in 2014. She advises scheduling an appointment around the 36th week of pregnancy when you are ready to talk about the specifics of your birth plan, but she notes that earlier or later is fine. “Women always leave these appointments feeling more knowledgeable, prepared and reassured,” she says.
The Baby Place at Lutheran is Jefferson County’s only hospital birthing center. To learn more about our full range of birthing services and available classes, please click here, where you can also view a video tour of our birth center and visit “Your First Moments” blog.