One of the most important decisions a woman makes is choosing a hospital for the birth of her baby. Her selection will determine the birthing options available to her, the extent to which her family and friends can share in the joyous event, and the quality of care she and her baby will receive.
“It takes some homework to make an informed decision about hospital maternity services,” says Saddleback Memorial obstetrician/gynecologist Elizabeth Johnson, M.D. The process begins with physician selection. Women typically deliver at the hospital where their obstetrician has admitting privileges. This means that mothers-to-be should keep in mind that when they choose a doctor, they’re automatically selecting the place where they’ll give birth. Dr. Johnson, who prefers the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial for both personal and professional reasons, delivered her first child there in January 2007. One of the factors she considered most important for the birth of her own baby was the hospital’s excellent nursing staff. “In addition to the obstetrician, new mothers at Saddleback Memorial are cared for by a team of specially trained nurses who assist in nearly 3,000 births each year,” says Dr. Johnson. “The Women’s Hospital nursing team is among the best and most experienced anywhere.”
Based on an independent survey, Saddleback Memorial was ranked as one of the top hospitals in California for maternity patient experience.
In December 2006, Dr. Han welcomed her third child into the world at Saddleback Memorial. She chose the hospital for the births of her three children for many reasons, including the availability of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “Fortunately, most births go according to plan,” says Dr. Han. “But if any unexpected difficulties occur with the baby, it’s important to have access to a NICU.” Dr. Han points out that NICUs have the lifesaving capabilities necessary to handle the serious emergencies involving medically fragile and premature babies. Additionally, the hospital’s high-risk obstetrical team of board-certified perinatologists, neonatologists, OB anesthesiologists and obstetricians is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Prenatal care should begin early in the pregnancy—and before pregnancy for high-risk women with diabetes, cardiovascular problems or other chronic illnesses. With one of the few high-risk pregnancy programs in the area, the Women’s Hospital offers genetic counseling, a fetal diagnostic center, gestational diabetes program, in utero therapy and specialists in multiple births.