Choosing an Obstetrician and Maternity Center
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After delivery, you’ll need the next few days in the hospital not only to recover, but also to prepare for your new life when you head back home. When I visit my patients at the maternity center, often I find exhausted but overjoyed moms and dads beaming with pride at their new baby, and then they look at me and ask, “Now what?” This is the time when an extensive post-natal hospital program can help make an easier transition from pre-baby to family. Find out if the hospital offers parenting classes or other educational programs. If you are planning to breastfeed, ask if there are certified lactation specialists to guide you and answer your questions. Find out if the hospital has a telephone “warm line” that you can call with your questions any time of the day or night once you are home with your new baby.
As a parent, your greatest hope at the end of this journey is for a healthy child. But if something should go wrong, you want to be assured that your child will have the best care available. Most newborns do not need the services of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but having a Level III NICU gives parents peace-of-mind in knowing that the hospital has the most advanced technology and the medical expertise to care for premature babies as young as 25 weeks, as well as newborns who are critically ill, or in need of surgery.
Communication and feeling comfortable with your OB and hospital choice are vital to a positive pregnancy and labor experience. Being pregnant and having a baby can be one of the best experiences of a woman’s life. It’s a “life event” that is special for the entire family. And it can be even more positive if a woman explores her options for choosing an OB and hospital that best match her maternity needs.
FRANK LaBARBERA, M.D., has been practicing for 20 years. He is chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at White Plains Hospital Center (WPHC), where The William & Sylvia Silberstein Neonatal & Maternity Center has been recognized with a 5-star rating for clinical excellence in maternity care from HealthGrades, the nation's leading source for independent healthcare quality information. The Hospital is an affiliate of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information, visit www.wphospital.org or call (914) 681-0600.