Hospitals unveil luxury birthing centers, women's services

Hospitals across the country are launching new facilities geared for moms-to-be. Modeled after hotels and with input from patients, these new hospital birthing centers include luxury amenities and redesigned space to accommodate families.

Spectrum Health, for instance, now has a new entrance and admitting area for the birthing center at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., instead of making labor and delivery patients come in through the emergency room--a recommendation from former patients on an advisory council, Michigan Live reported. The hospital, which also offers private rooms, has a ground-floor admitting area so patients can easily leave upon discharge.

Mercy Hospital in St. Louis similarly places it Maternity Welcome Center just inside the main lobby entrance. Like Spectrum, the hospital offers water amenities and includes massaging jets in the shower walls and built-in chairs for low-intervention births, as well as portable, waterproof fetal monitors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Patients also have flat-screen televisions and docking stations for music players.

Like Spectrum and Mercy Hospital, Abbott Northwestern and Children's Hospitals and Clinics' new Mother Baby Center offers whirlpool tubs, CBS Minnesota reported. The center treats the mother and baby in the same room and has an integrated operating room. Among other features, it has a celebration plaza where patients can have baby showers.

"It's like a home with all the amenities of a hotel," Jennifer Olson, executive director of the Mother Baby Center, told CBS.

The new facilities and spa-like features don't cater to only the mother. Hospitals are redesigning the space to engage families too.

Crestwood Medical Center in Alabama, which touts a family-oriented experience, offers Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum suites with comfortable furniture and lots of seating for family members, WHNT 19 News reported.

Similarly, Huntsville (Ala.)  Hospital for Women and Children has an open visitation policy to include grandparents and siblings, as well as a parent overnight room. Its regional NICU is designed to put the patient and healthcare professionals closer together in case something goes wrong during the delivery and requires immediate, specialized care.

Advocates of such facilities say that it helps patient satisfaction, as well as the healing process. Nevertheless, other healthcare experts note patient-centered care is about positive quality outcomes.

For more information:
- read the Michigan Live article
- read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article
- watch CBS Minnesota report
- see the WHNT 19 News report

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