Where You Have Your Baby Matters

Having a baby is one of the most significant milestones in your life, and the hospital where you decide to deliver your baby will be one of the most important decisions that you make during your pregnancy. Your birth experience, likelihood of cesarean section (C-section) and risks of complications are all affected by the hospital you choose. It is worth doing some research to make sure the hospital of your choice meets your needs.

Baby-Friendly designated hospitals are designed to improve care of pregnant women, mothers and newborns and ensure proper mother-baby bonding with every delivery. They implement practices that protect, support and promote breastfeeding. This hospital designation can be very important if you want to maximize your chances of successful bonding and breastfeeding.

If you've previously given birth by C-section and are interested in trying to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) this time, make sure the hospital will allow it and has obstetricians and anesthesiologists available 24/7 to attend to any emergency that may arise. Choosing the right hospital increases your chances of a successful vaginal delivery.

If you have a high risk pregnancy and are at risk for preterm delivery, you want to make sure that that the hospital of your choice has Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists to address your high risk conditions and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with in-house neonatologists to take care of preterm babies. Your baby is safer if taken care of where delivered rather than having to be transferred out.

To minimize your chances of a C-section, it is important to know the C-section rate for the hospital you choose. Rates vary wildly across US hospitals, with some as low as 7 percent and others as high as 70 percent. C-section rates are more dependent on the “culture” of the hospital than on the patient’s medical risks or preference. Choosing a hospital with a low C-section rate significantly decreases your chances of having a C-section and related complications. The risk of complications for a patient undergoing a vaginal delivery is about 1% compared to 3% if you have a C-section.

When deciding where to deliver your baby, consider that PVHMC is a Baby-Friendly designated hospital with obstetricians and anesthesiologists available in the hospital 24 hours a day, Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists and an NICU. PVHMC has also been recognized as having one of the lowest C-section rates in the area, and is the second largest delivering hospital in the state of California, with more than 7,000 births annually.

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