2 DignityHealth.org/Merced | Fall 2018 Congratulations—you’re expecting! And whether your baby bump is barely showing or your due date is almost here, you want your baby’s arrival to be filled with special moments. And we want that for you too. In fact, that’s the reason for some key changes at the Family Birth Center at Dignity Health – Mercy Medical Center. “Our wish is for you and your baby to have the best possible—and safest—beginning together,” says Jessica Newton, RN, Clinical Manager of the Family Birth Center. Among the changes: FAMILY BIRTH CENTER Already great care, now even better Immediate snuggling for a least an hour. Right after birth, your baby will be placed skin to skin on your chest, as long as your baby isn’t in distress. Doctors call this uninterrupted time the “golden hour” because it helps babies adjust to the outside world and regulate their vital signs. It’s also the best way for you and your baby to bond. And if you nurse, it helps breastfeeding get off to a smooth start. “Our moms love this experience,” Newton says. “It’s even an option if you have a cesarean section.” Naptime for moms and babies. Between 2 and 4 p.m., we encourage you to ask friends and family other than your support person to give you private time with your baby. It’s your choice, of course. But newborns often sleep in the afternoon, and you can nap too. That’s a plus for all moms—and especially nursing ones, since a lack of solid sleep can affect milk production. We’ll also ensure our hospital staff doesn’t disturb you, unless you need them, during this chance for some shut-eye. 24/7 expertise. A board- certified obstetrician is always available at the Family Birth Center in case of an emergency. » More positive changes are coming to the Family Birth Center too. For instance, any pregnant woman past 20 weeks with a concerning symptom will soon be able to bypass the emergency department (ED) and go directly to the Family Birth Center’s OB ED, which will allow for even faster, safer care. Sign up for childbirth classes. See page 8.