Natural Awakenings

Choosing where to deliver a baby is a major decision for every family. Every woman wants a safe and healthy delivery. Beyond that, women deserve to have options and control over their birthing experience.

Women in New Mexico have a plethora of choices for how and where to deliver their babies. Home birthing is gaining in popularity, according to the U.S. Centers for Control and Disease Prevention. After a decline from 1990 to 2004, the percentage of U.S. births that occurred at home increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009. Hospitals too are offering more choices to pregnant women, including varying levels of medical intervention and more options for home-like deliveries. They are also offering more amenities to make the experience more memorable and comfortable than previous generations experienced.

“Hospitals around New Mexico know that birthing is one of life’s most important moments,” said Jane Ritter, Chief Nursing Officer at Lovelace Women’s Hospital. “The best hospitals offer families a broad spectrum of care, paying attention to a mother’s preferences and needs.”

Lovelace hospitals, for example, offer women luxurious amenities, state-of-the-art technology and more options for natural delivery, including water births. Lovelace offers three birthing facilities, at Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Northeast Albuquerque, Lovelace Westside Hospital at Golf Course Road in Albuquerque and at Lovelace Regional Hospital-Roswell in Southeast New Mexico. All three birthing centers offer comfortable, convenient, high quality care delivered by compassionate, board-certified specialists.

Hospital birthing centers are designed to create the best experience possible for both babies and their parents. Lovelace, for example, offers resources outside the delivery room to span the duration of pregnancy and post-natal care. These resources include classes, support groups, insurance help and even massages for women after delivery.

Birthing centers that do pay attention to a mother’s wants and needs offer can help women who desire a natural delivery with little to no medical intervention, as well as medically advanced technology for pre- and postnatal care. Whether women are considering a water birth, natural birth or a traditional delivery, hospitals around Albuquerque offer a variety of options and services designed to meet patients’ needs.

From time to time, newborns might need high-tech, highly specialized care. Neonatal Intensive Care Units can provide care for babies who are born preterm or who require medical attention after delivery. Lovelace Women’s Hospital offers a medically advanced unit, monitored by board-certified specialists, Ritter said.

“Providing exceptional care for women and their newborns does not stop at birthing,” Ritter said. “Sometimes babies require extra help during delivery or after birth. Even if a mother chooses a natural or water delivery, she might feel better having immediate access to medical equipment and specialists if something does not go as planned.”

As women are presented with more options for health care services, information is key. Patients should examine hospitals’ websites for information about quality and service initiatives.

For example, on its website, patients will discover that Lovelace Women’s Hospital is the only Albuquerque hospital to be recognized by the Joint Commission as a Top Performer on key quality measures for pneumonia and surgical care in 2011. The hospital met or exceeded 95 percent performance on these quality measures.

The report just released by the Joint Commission lists 620 hospitals as Top Performers, which is the top 18 percent of hospitals across the country. “Lovelace Women’s Hospital attains excellence for our patient outcomes by consistently using evidence-based treatments for our patients,” said Sheri Milone, CEO, Lovelace Women’s Hospital.

How hospitals perform under certain quality measures is posted online by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at hospitalcompare.hhs.gov. Again, hospitals also usually post their own quality and service achievements on their websites, which allows patients to learn more about which hospital and services are right for them – especially as they consider the many options for birthing services available.

Additionally, many hospitals, including Lovelace facilities, offer tours and classes to give women the opportunity to ask questions and explore their options further.

For more information, visit lovelace.com.

To see this story in print, click here.

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