Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait
The FMH BirthPlace and the local physician community have joined forces
to stop the increase in early elective deliveries. Studies show that electing
to deliver babies prior to 39 weeks gestation without a medical reason—either
by inducing labor, or performing a C-section—carries significant
increased risk for infants. Being in the womb for as long as nature intended
has important advantages—critical organs like the brain, lungs and
liver have time to mature, sucking and swallowing reflexes develop more
fully, and vision and hearing problems are less likely to occur.
Skin-to-skin contact between mothers and babies immediately after birth
regulates babies’ temperatures, heart rates, respirations and blood
sugar levels. It also allows babies to be colonized with the same bacteria
as their mothers, minimizing the risk of infection. Along with breastfeeding,
this is thought to be important in the prevention of future allergies
and some other chronic diseases. Skin-to-skin contact also promotes mom’s
production of oxytocin—a hormone that boosts maternal feelings and
a positive mood—and may play a role in decreasing the instance of
All the Peas in One Pod
In The BirthPlace, moms and babies stay together during their entire stay.
Known as “complete couplet care,” this approach supports breastfeeding
success, and helps newborns adjust more readily to life outside the womb.
New mothers are able to learn feeding, diapering, and other newborn care
in the privacy of their own rooms from professional nursing staff.
Just In Case
The FMH BirthPlace welcomes nearly 3,000 infants into the world each year,
and the vast majority of them—nearly 90 percent—do not need
high-risk newborn care. However, in that rare instance, the highly-skilled
staff of The Billy Miller Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stands ready to
help. A partnership with Johns Hopkins University Hospital, this special
unit is staffed by neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners who
are employed by Johns Hopkins University Hospital, and permanently located
at FMH. These highly-skilled specialists in the care of high-risk newborns
are at FMH 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year to care
for infants as young as 27 weeks gestational age. Currently, accreditation
is in process that will allow The Billy Miller Intensive Care Nursery
to care for newborns as young as 24 weeks gestational age.
“To help families get off to the best start possible, we have focused
on reducing early elective deliveries, promoting mother-child bonding
through skin-to-skin contact, providing our families with complete couplet
care and continuing to expand services in our neonatal intensive care
– Katherine Murray, Director of Women’s & Children’s Services