The Good Birth
By Sarah Martin
A common characteristic of well-regarded hospitals’ labor and delivery units is patient-centered care where a mother’s wishes during labor and birth are respected and given due consideration. At these same hospitals, mothers are not made to feel rushed, ignored, or pressured by doctors and nurses at a time when they need to feel cared for and heard.
At Greenwich Hospital, RN Jeanne Van Sciver has been supporting mothers through the journey of labor and birth and putting women and families first for nearly 40 years. In her current role as Prenatal/Neonatal Senior Coordinator, she works to ensure that patients enter a positive environment staffed with dedicated and professional nurses.
A positive birth experience often begins well before the delivery date. Van Sciver suggests that parents create a birth plan and review it with their doctor, keeping in mind that labor is inherently unpredictable, so they should view their plan as “a roadmap with detours.”
Before each prenatal visit, Van Sciver encourages parents to write down any questions they have for their doctor, so they won’t forget to ask. Lastly, if your doctor is part of a group practice, be sure to meet with the other doctors who’ll be on call around the time of your due date.
Van Sciver encourages expectant parents to take advantage of the hospital’s one day, six-hour class — “it covers everything they need to know” — and to tour the Labor and Delivery unit in advance. The hospital also provides a range of classes from prenatal yoga to feeding and infant care and even a class just for grandparents.
Movement is encouraged, specifically walking, which is why portable electronic fetal monitors are available. Other tools including birth balls and peanuts can be utilized.
Rooms are equipped with private showers for massage therapy and each room has a TV that can be tuned to the meditation channel. Birthing beds are equipped to support mothers in many positions with the use of a squatting bar. The goal is to make moms as comfortable as possible.
“Greenwich Hospital respects the wishes of moms who wish to go through labor and delivery without medication and works with these moms and their doctors/doulas to make the experience as smooth as possible,” noted Van Sciver.
Once a baby is born, the goal is to keep mom and baby together. There is also a fully staffed nursery available 24 hours per day. Moms can take advantage of the full-time lactation consultant. As part of the Tender Beginnings Program, families can receive a postpartum visit two to three days after birth. Infants can be unpredictable, which is why once moms return home there is a “warm line” they can call 24 hours per day where they can speak to a nurse with questions or concerns.
When the big day finally arrives, Van Sciver urges new parents to “relax and enjoy”.
Greenwich Hospital’s Jeanne VanSciver, RN, Perinatal/Neonatal senior coordinator, stands next to a radiant warmer where babies are placed immediately after birth for an initial assessment by the Labor & Delivery team.