Pregnant Moms and Their Loved Ones Can Take a Tour
What should you expect when you’re expecting? If you are pregnant,
particularly for the first time, you may be wondering about the process
and what it will be like. Washington Hospital offers tours of its Birthing
Center to help expectant moms and their loved ones see firsthand where
they will bring new life into the world.
“A tour gives you the chance to see where you will give birth and
get your questions answered,” said Denise Alfaro, office manager
at the Maternal Education Center. “If we don’t have an answer
for you during the tour, someone will call you back. We want to make sure
expectant moms have all the information they need before they deliver
at Washington Hospital. A tour is not mandatory, but we highly recommend
it, especially if this is your first time giving birth at Washington Hospital.”
The Birthing Center is located on the second floor of the main hospital
at 2000 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. It was completely remodeled in 2012 and
provides comprehensive care to expectant and new moms, and their newborns.
Expectant moms should tour the Birthing Center a month before their due
date. Alfaro encourages them not to wait until then to schedule the appointment,
however, because the tours fill up.
The tours are available every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and the first, second
and fourth Saturday of the month at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. The tour takes
about 45 minutes to an hour.
Expectant moms can bring their husbands or partners with them on the tour
as well as other loved ones, including children over the age of 3. The
tour starts in the conference room on the ground floor of the Hospital,
where expectant moms receive a packet of materials and learn about some
of the services that are available at the Birthing Center.
“We also talk about what they might want to bring with them when
they come to the Hospital to deliver their babies,” Alfaro added.
“Expectant moms might want to bring their own gowns to use after
delivery or certain toiletries with them. They will also need to have
a car seat properly installed in their vehicle to take their newborn home.”
Room With a View of Your Baby
Participants then go upstairs to see the Birthing Center, where they tour
the rooms and learn about the amenities. The Birthing Center has 18 labor
and delivery rooms as well as 12 postpartum rooms.
Most of the time, new moms can stay in their labor and delivery room, which
can be very convenient because you don’t have to move to a new room,
Alfaro said. If the room is needed, new moms move to a postpartum room.
All the rooms are designed with the comfort of mom in mind, she added.
The beds have padded cushions and there is a convertible couch so dad
or another loved one can stay overnight. Each room has a TV that includes
educational videos that could be helpful for new parents.
The Birthing Center has been designated as “Baby Friendly”
by the World Health Organization. Babies stay in the room with new moms
so they can bond. This focus on bonding and skin-to-skin contact between
mother and baby is integral to being a Baby-Friendly facility.
“Unless there are complications, the baby always stays in the room
with mom,” Alfaro said. “It encourages active care of the
infant. New parents can hold their baby, change their newborn’s
diapers and build confidence caring for their baby. They also get to know
their babies’ feeding cues.”
The Birthing Center’s focus on breastfeeding is also part of its
Baby-Friendly designation. There is an internationally board -certified
lactation consultant on staff seven days a week at the Birthing Center
and new moms can get the support they need to be successful at breastfeeding,
The tour includes a stop outside the Washington Special Care Nursery for
babies who need extra care after the delivery. The nursery is affiliated
with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and is staffed by neonatal
nurses and UCSF neonatologists.
Expectant moms also see where the operating rooms are in case they are
not able to give birth and instead need to have a cesarean section.
“The tour can help expectant moms feel more comfortable,” Alfaro
said. “You can take comfort in knowing the highly skilled and caring
staff is here to help you have a positive birthing experience.”
To schedule a tour of the Washington Hospital Birthing Center or for more
information about the Birthing Center and other services for pregnant
women and new moms, call (510) 818-5040 or visit whhs.com/childbirth.