WakeMed to renovate, expand pregnancy and childbirth unit

08/31/2014 12:00 AM

08/29/2014 12:19 PM

WakeMed Heath & Hospitals is planning a $10.6 million expansion and renovation of the pregnancy and childbirth unit at its Raleigh hospital as part of broader efforts to take a family-centered approach to care.

The expansion includes a new antepartum unit with eight private rooms for women with high-risk pregnancies.

The rooms will feature new fetal and maternal monitoring systems that track fetal growth, heart rate, a pregnant woman’s contractions and other measurements.

Pregnant women with complications such as premature labor, gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension would be candidates for a stay there.

The 15 existing labor and delivery suites in the maternity unit, known as the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace, also will be renovated to make it easier for families to have privacy and stay together throughout their stay.

WakeMed officials say the goal of family-centered care is to benefit both babies and their families, often with interventions that are hardly high-tech. One example is “kangaroo” or skin-to-skin care, when mothers or fathers hold their newborn against their body.

Kristin Kelly Gruman, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said studies have shown skin-to-skin care can improve an infant’s heart rate, blood oxygen level, weight gain and sleep.

The family-centered approach “really gives mothers, fathers and caretakers time … to get to know their newborn and learn how to take care of him or her,” she said.

The rooms are near the hospital’s three surgical suites for caesarean sections and special-needs deliveries, as well as the hospital’s Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, which was expanded earlier this year and includes private rooms as well.

“Having all these services, one next to the other next to the other, gives a continuum of care,” Kelly Gruman said.

The renovation and expansion is expected to be finished in summer of 2015.

WakeMed also expects to open WakeMed North Hospital, a 61-bed, full-service women’s hospital, in May 2015. The hospital will include childbirth facilities and a special care nursery.

The new hospital will be in addition to the outpatient services for men, women and children currently at the site as part of the WakeMed North Healthplex.

An open house at the North Hospital will be from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 10000 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh. No RSVP is required.

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