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The Augusta Health Birthing Suite puts mom and baby first

Enhancements emphasize a family-first approach to labor and delivery

If you ask anyone what the most memorable moment of their life is, you’ll get a range of responses, from first kisses to wedding days. But one moment is almost always at the top of every parent’s list: the day their child was born.

Giving birth is a special experience unlike anything else. The Augusta Health Obstetrics Department realizes this, which is why they’ve spent ample time and energy enhancing the Birthing Suite to ensure moms and babies have the best experience possible. Augusta has two private practices for labor and delivery: The Woman’s Center and Augusta Health Care for Women with locations in Lexington and Fishersville. Both private practices offer labor and delivery services, and Augusta Health Care for Women also offers the option of certified nurse midwives. Staff at both private practices see patients at their offices and at the hospital, offering a seamless transition of care.

“We regularly look at what our patients want and how other communities nationwide are caring for moms and babies,” says Roxanne Harris, director of obstetrics at Augusta Health. “We constantly evaluate what we’re providing and if it’s what our community wants from us.”

From celebratory dinners to family-centered caesarean sections, Augusta Health has made multiple exciting updates to the Birthing Suite.

Pediatric Hospitalists on Site

In 2013, Augusta Health decided to hire pediatric hospitalists, physicians who care for any pediatric patients (including newborn babies) who have been admitted to the hospital. The use of pediatric hospitalists offers a more streamlined, comprehensive approach to treating new babies, as well as deliveries that need a pediatrician on hand. Instead of waiting for a pediatrician to travel from an outpatient clinic to the hospital, there are physicians on-site who can respond immediately.

“A lot of our patients are first-time moms who haven’t even met the pediatrician yet,” Harris says. “I think they like the idea that someone is here, and they’re able to make rounds during the day.”

Yury Yakubchyk, MD, was the first pediatric hospitalist hired at Augusta Health in 2013. “I think it’s a good step forward because we’re available 24/7, and we’re taking care of these patients whenever they need us,” Dr. Yakubchyk says. “It helps mothers feel better because it reassures them that the situation is under control and that their kids are safe.”

Having pediatric hospitalists not only benefits patients, but also the community at large. “It’s been a really good service line for consistency within our hospital,” Harris says. “Before, pediatricians would have to leave their offices when we needed them here. Now, we have pediatric coverage in the hospital for all of our deliveries.”

Couplet Care and Family-Centered C-Sections

The traditional days of keeping newborn babies in a nursery have gone by the wayside. Hospitals across the country—including Augusta Health—have moved toward a practice called couplet care, in which babies are kept in the same room as their mother and taken care of by the same nurse.

In addition to peace of mind, improved sleep has been correlated with new mothers who have their baby in the room, Harris says. Plus, it’s easier to begin breastfeeding, as mothers don’t have to wait for someone to bring their baby from the nursery.

“The babies are able to be with their parents 24 hours a day,” Harris says. “The benefit of that is the parents get to know their babies and care for their babies with the support of our nursing staff prior to going home.”

The Augusta Health Birthing Suite also offers family-centered C-sections in which moms can have skin-to-skin contact with their baby right in the operating room. Moms and babies can also recover in the same room, so long as everyone is doing well.

Celebration Meals

As a small way of giving thanks to moms for having their baby at Augusta Health, the Birthing Suite offers a free celebration meal. Moms and their support person get a choice of tenderloin steak, shrimp scampi and a cheesy flatbread pizza. If a new mom doesn’t feel like having her meal at the hospital, she can also take it home. “We offer the option of taking the dinner home to make their first meal at home easy,” Harris says. The to-go meal includes a baguette and pasta with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Medications Delivered Bedside

The last thing a new mom or her partner wants to do after having a baby is run errands, like driving to the pharmacy. That’s why Augusta Health implemented “Meds to Bed,” in which new moms are given the option of having their prescriptions filled by the hospital pharmacy and delivered bedside prior to discharge. Meds to Bed was launched in 2019 and is typically offered Monday through Friday.

“It’s completely voluntary, but we’ve had a great response from our new parents that it’s just one less thing they have to do when they go home,” Harris says.

To schedule your birth at the Augusta Health Birthing Suite, visit augustahealth.com/birthing-suite or call (540) 332-4360.