Having a baby is an exciting and life-changing experience. Licking Memorial Hospital (LMH) is honored to share the wonder of these special moments with more than 1,100 women each year. From countless comfort features to the hand-picked members of the dedicated staff, every aspect of the LMH Maternal Child Department First Impressions program compliments the wide array of women’s services and programs offered by Licking Memorial Health Systems (LMHS), including a dedicated women’s imaging center and extensive gynecology services. LMH’s maternity unit serves local families who prefer advanced medical services closer to home. Through a family-
centered approach, the comprehensive maternity unit and Level II Special Care Nursery focus on enhanced patient experiences with uncompromising commitment to quality medical care for families and babies.
To help prepare for the birth of a baby, LMH First Impressions offers a variety of childbirth and parenting education classes. The Prenatal Breastfeeding Basics class is designed to provide expectant parents with information about the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers, babies and society. Parents learn the basics of breastfeeding, including skills and techniques necessary for successful breastfeeding, and have an opportunity to speak with one of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. Many women – brand new mothers and experienced parents alike – have difficulty breastfeeding or just want an open and supportive environment to ask questions and meet other breastfeeding moms. The Breastfeeding Promotion and Support Program offers encouragement and education in all aspects of breastfeeding and its impact on daily life, both during pregnancy, and after the birth of a baby. Designed to assist mothers in making an informed decision about infant feeding and nutrition, the Program also provides clinical support, and skills training necessary for women to establish effective breastfeeding while in the Hospital, and to provide continued support and resources to maintain exclusive breastfeeding at home.
LMH was among the first facilities in Central Ohio and one of the first 400 nationwide to receive the prestigious Baby Friendly Hospital designation. The international Baby Friendly program recognizes hospitals that offer mothers the information, confidence and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. As a unique incentive, patients who complete the Breastfeeding Education class and the Breastfeeding Promotion and Support Program at LMH will receive an electric double breast pump at discharge. The lactation consultant also may consult with mothers who plan to formula feed, in order to discuss the benefits of breast milk for at-risk and premature babies.
A Sibling Preparation Class is designed to help older siblings understand their place within the family and includes a discussion of a baby’s appearance, and what to expect when visiting mom and the new baby. A Grandparenting class focuses on changes in the best and safest practices for caring for newborns in recent years. Friends and Family Infant CPR, Newborn Basics and a childbirth pain management class also are among the education offerings.
“Stork tours” provide expectant families the opportunity to visit the state-of-the-art facilities and learn more about LMH Maternal Child services in person. The Baby Expo, presented annually by the LMH Development Council features Maternal Child staff and area businesses, offering an opportunity for attendees to learn more about local baby/maternity products and services. Safety-themed hands-on demonstrations presented by subject-matter experts address CPR, choking, bathing techniques and dangers in the home and in vehicles.
At LMH, the Maternal Child staff strive to provide the smoothest and most comfortable labor and delivery experience possible. Our priority is to help make each patient’s stay the first of many happy memories with their baby. Mothers and families, who choose to have their baby at LMH, will enjoy the conveniences of home in our birthing suites, which are among the largest and most comfortable in Central Ohio. Each suite includes a bathroom with a private shower and a multimedia flat-screen television. Specially-designed, fully adjustable beds allow multiple positions for maximum comfort during and after delivery.
Whether patients prefer to progress naturally or choose to have an epidural anesthetic, Labor & Delivery staff carefully consider each patient’s particular desires and expectations to help craft individualized birthing plans. Thanks to the use of centralized fetal monitoring equipment, patients are provided with a measure of privacy while maintaining the peace of mind that the staff is continually assessing the progress of both mother and baby. The remote monitoring technology also allows mothers the freedom to move about during the labor process. Expectant mothers have access to birthing and peanut balls during labor and also may consult midwives and/or a certified doula – a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support throughout labor and delivery. “We are pleased to offer a broad spectrum of maternity services to meet the needs of expectant mothers,” said Lynda Hoffman, Director of the Maternal Child Department. “Patients appreciate the opportunity to experience a low-intervention birth, while knowing the safety of high-tech medical interventions are readily available,” she continued. A fully-equipped operating room is available right on the Maternity Unit should a Caesarean section be necessary.
For the first hour after delivery, LMH promotes “snuggle time” for parents to bond with the newborn through skin-to-skin contact. Known as Kangaroo Care, this method can be provided by both mother and father and is encouraged for all stable babies throughout the Hospital stay. Benefits of Kangaroo Care include: steady heart rate, regular breathing, stable temperature regulation and blood pressure, increased oxygen in the baby’s blood, improved weight gain, and reduced pain.
The relaxed atmosphere of the postpartum unit allows parents to bond with their baby while the professional nursing staff provides support and the one-on-one education necessary to ensure a smooth transition home. Rooming-in also is encouraged throughout the Hospital stay and allows new parents an opportunity to care for their baby with medical staff close by to provide assistance as needed. Sleeper sofas in each room allow spouses to stay and connect as a new family. Each birthing suite features an infant care station, so that a newborn may be thoroughly examined without ever leaving the mother’s sight. If a medical need should arise, equipment for more intensive care is nearby. A state-of-
the-art security system protects newborns in all areas of the Maternal Child Department. A wristband placed on the infant upon delivery uniquely matches those placed on the mother and their support person at the time of registration. Visitors receive secure passcodes for entry into the post-partum unit, and siblings wear special badges.
Trained registered nurses provide care for well babies primarily in the mother’s room, and to ill newborns in a specialized care nursery. Designated as a Level II facility by the Ohio Department of Health, the Special Care Nursery is equipped with critical care and stabilization equipment, such as ventilators for infants with breathing difficulties and photo therapy for jaundiced infants. Extremely premature babies, or babies who require transfer for more intensive care, often can return to LMH through the reverse transfer program – which allows newborns to receive necessary treatment closer to home and makes travel less of a burden to family and loved ones.
Several unique services are available to new parents at LMH. A chef-prepared gourmet dinner for two is served by candlelight to allow new parents to celebrate in the privacy of their room. Room service allows patients the convenience to choose what and when to eat. These meals also are available to visiting friends and family at a reasonable cost. LMH massage therapists assist in pain management and comfort – while in Labor and Delivery or in the Postpartum unit. As part of the Mother-Baby Home Wellness Check program, a trained nurse makes a home visit after discharge to answer any questions and refer community resources, as needed. To ensure the new baby’s first ride home is as safe as possible, an LMH staff member who received training as a Certified Car Seat Technician will inspect the car seat to confirm it meets safety guidelines. The technician accompanies new parents to the car to make certain the seat is installed properly, as well.
The birth of a baby is one of the most precious times in a family’s life. LMH looks forward to providing a birthing experience, which emphasizes quality and compassion in a family-oriented environment, in order to offer the best and healthiest outcome for the entire family. Our blend of high-tech and high-touch service offers a level of maternal care that will allow the first impressions of a new baby to leave a lasting memory.
Licking Memorial Health Systems