Women's Services - Cottage Health

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Women's Services

The birth of a child is a significant life event and one you will always remember. At Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, we welcome 2400 new babies into the world each year and are ready to help you welcome your baby into your family.

Each birth is very personal. Talk about the plan you have for your labor and your birth with your physician or nurse-midwife during your pregnancy and then tell us your wishes when you arrive. We encourage parents to attend classes offered throughout the pregnancy.

Every room has Wi-Fi and a large video monitor with a computer keyboard. You can call up a mix of media and tune into videos for relaxation and baby care. For meals, you will order from a menu, like room service. You are welcome to snacks from our pantry any time.

Birth Center

With the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, our new (2012) hospital was recently voted one of the most beautiful in the country. Built in the Spanish Colonial style with artwork from local artists decorating the halls, it feels more like a home than a hospital. That feeling continues in the Birth Center where our rooms have a plentiful amount of space and natural light from picture windows with mountain and skyline views.

Each of the Birthing Rooms has a recliner, a rocking chair, and a sofa to compliment the birthing bed with a generous number of pillows for comfort. You will labor, birth, and recover (for the first 1-2 hours) in the Birthing Room. An all-RN, specialty-trained staff will care for you throughout your labor and birth. The Birthing Rooms also have the state-of-the art equipment to care for your newborn as needed. The surgical suites include two operating rooms specifically for obstetrics and a post-anesthesia recovery room (PACU).

Coping techniques and relief of labor’s pain is offered in a variety of ways: position changes, walking on one of our beautiful outside terraces, physical therapy (or “birthing” balls), and our Jacuzzi tubs for hydrotherapy and labor support from your nurse and others you’ve invited to your birth. We also have analgesia (“pain medication”) available in the form of intravenous medication and epidural analgesia performed by one of our skilled anesthesiologists should you desire it.

We encourage skin-to-skin contact and bonding immediately following both vaginal and Cesarean births. The majority of women birthing in our facility are “low risk” and have healthy newborns. The American Academy of Pediatrics (2005) and the World Health Organization offer research-based guidelines regarding skin-to-skin and the importance of the “golden hour” following birth.

  • Healthy infants should be placed immediately onto mom’s chest when they are born and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact until the first feeding is accomplished.
  • The first physical assessment should be performed while the infant remains on mom’s chest.
  • Weighing and measuring should wait until after the first feeding.
  • The baby can remain with the parents throughout the recovery period.

If you or your baby need additional care and support for any “at risk” situations that are known or develop during labor and birth, skin-to-skin contact will be initiated as soon as possible. A newborn team is available for each birth and attends every Cesarean birth and at-risk delivery. The equipment to initially care for a preterm or sick infant is available in Birth Center. If your baby requires a higher level of attention, he or she will be cared for in our onsite Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

We welcome your visitors to the Birth Center for your support any time but ask that you limit the number to three at one time for safety and privacy of all patients. We also encourage that you take advantage of the “golden first hour” following birth to be alone with your baby to provide skin-to-skin bonding and early breastfeeding while the baby is most alert for those first 24 hours of life.

At-Risk Pregnancy

Specialized technical and emergency support is available for any mother or newborn that may require extra care or immediate attention. For those who have known at-risk situations, our Perinatal Center provides antenatal (before birth) services.

The Perinatal Center staff is led by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. You will be referred to the specialist by your primary physician or nurse-midwife. There are a variety of reasons you have an at-risk pregnancy including: high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of genetic disease, preterm labor, twin pregnancy (or more!), heart disease, and age.

Ultrasound (3D and 4D) is one of the technologies used. It safely uses sound waves to create images of your baby in the uterus. It may be used to look at your baby’s anatomy, to measure the growth of your baby, to measure the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby, or to measure blood flow in the umbilical cord.

If you or your baby need closer observation and care for your at-risk situation, you will be taken care of on the Antepartum Unit, a special part of the Birth Center.

Antepartum Unit

This is an 8 bed unit (4 private rooms and 2 semi-private rooms) where you might stay for observation or for hospitalization for any at-risk situation including preterm labor (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), high blood pressure, diabetic teaching and blood glucose control or even after a non-pregnancy related surgery (like an appendectomy).

You may also be cared for on this unit following the birth of your baby if you need close observation (high blood pressure, a blood loss greater than expected, or any medical condition you might have in addition to pregnancy and birth). Some of the patients we care for are here long-term (for days, weeks or months) and some simply stay overnight.

Mother Infant Care

Following your recovery time, you and your baby will be transferred to Mother-Infant Care (“post-partum”) for the rest of your stay. The unit has 19 private rooms and 5 semi-private rooms. Mother-baby couplet care is provided and “rooming in” with your baby is encouraged. This promotes bonding, skin-to-skin opportunities and assists with successful breastfeeding.

All of our nursing staff members can assist you with breastfeeding and the five Lactation Educators will help with any challenge and answer your questions. The room is designed for families; your partner or another family member is welcomed to stay overnight (when in a private room). For safety, your other children are not allowed to spend the night but are welcomed (with another adult to care for them at all times) from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Prior to leaving the hospital for home, you will have an opportunity to sign up for the Welcome Every Baby (WEB) program. If you are eligible, this program offers a home visit by a nurse to evaluate you and your baby.