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Health Team

Tubs, skylights bolster WakeMed Cary's delivery room renovations

Posted October 3

— The expansion and renovation of WakeMed Cary Hospital's labor and delivery unit opened on Tuesday to make the birthing process more comfortable and memorable for new mothers.

The WakeMed Cary Women's Pavilion and Birthplace was designed with family bonding and healing in mind to take expectant parents from arrival through delivery. With that in mind, the hospital set out update the birthing experience.

"Part of the renovation was to create more of a hotel and spa-like experience," said WakeMed Cary's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Seth Brody.

Brody said the rooms are now 30 percent larger, which allow people to move around more easily.

Like most newer labor and delivery rooms, there is plenty of space for family, including a fold-out bed and two large TV screens. However, the first thing most couples will notice is the large window-lit tub in the back of the room.

"The tub is a unique part of the experience, particularly for women laboring," Brody said. "A lot of our patients laboring find that to be a major part of relaxing."

The actual birth will be at the bed. Until that moment, all technical gear and carts remain hidden.

"When it's time for action, and the baby's being born, we obviously need all our proper equipment," Brody said.

Brody said large windows and corridor skylights are also important design elements.

"Natural light is well known to be part of the healing process," Brody said. "It makes people feel good as opposed to the feeling (that) you're locked into a closed, dark space."

When the Women's Pavilion and Birthplace opened in 1997, there were eight labor, delivery and recovery beds along with a small nursery. Now, there are a total of 10 labor and delivery suites as well as 26 postpartum rooms, as baby nurseries are giving way to more newborns staying in the room with mom.

"That encourages more breast feeding, better bonding," Brody said. "So, that experience has changed dramatically."

WakeMed has three full-service hospitals offering a birthing experience. The hospitals deliver more babies than any other health system in Wake County, with 7,960 babies born in the last fiscal year.

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