According to a May 13 news release, the new birthing suites were designed with features to enhance patient comfort and the overall birth experience. Officials noted the new facilities first opened on Feb. 15 with the first delivery taking place March 11.
"These low-intervention birthing suites offer mothers a comfortable, home-like environment with the safety net of the full-service hospital just outside the room," said Rebecca McKimmey, a certified nurse-midwife at Houston Methodist Willowbrook, in a statement. "These rooms accommodate women who want to experience a natural birth without the risk of forgoing modern medicine in the event that it's needed or wanted."
According to the release, the new birthing suites include queen-sized beds, hydrotherapy bathtubs, walk-in showers, mini refrigerators, birthing balls, aromatherapy with essential oils and wireless speakers. In addition to natural pain management strategies, Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital also offers nitrous oxide—also known as laughing gas—as a low-dose alternative for women seeking a more natural birth experience.
"We recognize that every mother has a different plan and vision for her birth experience and we want to provide the options to meet those needs in our community," said Cara Catalano, director of women's services at Houston Methodist Willowbrook, in a statement. "Giving birth to a child, however it may happen, is a sacred experience, and we're simply here to support the miracle of welcoming a new life into this world."
According to hospital officials, the new suites complement Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital's robust midwifery program through which certified nurse-midwives specialize in helping mothers deliver their babies safely and naturally through a holistic "high-touch, low-intervention" approach.
While the new birthing suites are geared toward natural births, officials noted physician or surgical intervention can be provided seamlessly if needed or desired, as well as a Level II neonatal intensive care unit.