Many parents would agree that the long list of prenatal decision-making begins almost immediately after taking a positive pregnancy test.
Deciding who will be one’s doctor is often the first decision an expecting parent will make, which lends itself to deciding which hospital to eventually deliver in. Most physicians only deliver at certain hospitals, so as difficult as it may seem to imagine nine months down the road to delivery day, it’s important to know your hospital options early when selecting a physician.
Our Madison community is fortunate to offer labor and delivery services right here in our backyard at Madison Hospital. Renee Colquitt, a neonatal nurse practitioner and director of perinatal services at Madison Hospital, recently shared four reasons that expecting parents should heavily consider having a baby here.
4 Reasons to Consider Having a Baby at Madison Hospital
1. They are the only hospital in North Alabama to be Baby-Friendly USA certified.
This certification means that Madison Hospital heavily promotes three things: lactation support and healthy-feeding practices, skin-to-skin, and rooming-in.
“Lactation consultants will meet with moms at least once, even if she isn’t breastfeeding,” shared Colquitt. “We want to make sure that moms are taken care of, know their options, and feel educated.”
She continued to share that breastfeeding moms will receive visits at least once a day throughout her post-delivery hospital stay to offer support and encouragement. Madison Hospital also offers twice-weekly lactation support groups (available to anyone, regardless of whether they delivered at Madison Hospital or not) and one-on-one lactation consultations after the mom has left the hospital (available only to moms who delivered at Madison Hospital).
Colquitt says that Madison Hospital heavily promotes “rooming in” with the baby, and that “if we don’t need to take them away, we aren’t going to.”
For example, a circumcision should require a baby to quickly leave the room for the procedure, but otherwise Colquitt says that all screenings, tests, etc. are performed in the mother and baby’s room so that the family can stay together.
“We not only promote rooming in, but we will educate the mother of all of the benefits why this is so important.”
Something else that makes Madison Hospital unique is its emphasis on skin-to-skin time as soon as possible after delivery, even in the operating room following a Cesarian section.
“There are so many benefits to skin-to-skin time, so we try to make sure that every mom has this time with their baby.”
2. Madison Hospital has a Level 2 nursery.
When it comes to potential concerns that one may be separated from her baby if he or she requires extra car, Colquitt says that Madison Hospital provides so much more than people realize.
“We now have a level two nursery, which means that we can take care of glucose and sugar. We can give minor oxygen. There’s a lot we can do in our level 2 nursery if necessary.”
She shared that only 10% of babies need anything beyond routine well-baby care and that Madison Hospital generally only transfers 1-3 babies per month to Huntsville for Level 3+ NICU care.
“In the event that a baby needs NICU care beyond what we can provide, the baby will be transferred to Women’s and Children’s at Huntsville and the mother will receive an early discharge to join her baby if she is healthy.”
Also, if an expecting mother is having complications and premature delivery is likely where Level 3+ NICU care is expected, she will be sent to Huntsville to have the baby, even if she was set to deliver at Madison. This is just one more reason why the number of babies that have to be transferred is so low.
3. Madison Hospital offers a slew of classes and ongoing support.
COVID-19 has affected the way some tours and classes are offered, but generally, a slew of options are available to expecting and postpartum parents, including hospital tours, childbirth classes, breastfeeding, parenting, and more.
“We remain very available to you after you have your baby,” shared Colquitt.
4. Madison Hospital provides a smaller, more intimate atmosphere.
Speaking from experience after delivering our third child at Madison Hospital in 2019, the smaller setting was welcomed.
“We are a smaller facility, which means that parents get a nice sense of community and benefit from the more tailored one-on-one care from our small staff.”
The hospital itself is very easy to navigate and offers free, easy parking.
Colquitt shared that OB/GYN Associates is the only physician group to deliver at Madison, who has offices in both Madison near the hospital as well as in Decatur.
Author note: As Colquitt and I were discussing this aspect of the hospital, the lullaby chimes rang sweetly in the background, signaling that a baby had just been born. So, if your baby was born on September 9th around 9:30 a.m., know that my heart did a very happy little leap for you! I remember the chimes from my own daughter’s birth very well.
P.S. All babies also go home with a Madison Hospital HALO Sleep Sack as well as a Birthday Book gift from The Junior League of Huntsville.
Photography by Christine Sandrock Littleton