A new low-intervention birthing suite will open this week at Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville for expectant mothers seeking a non-medicated natural childbirth experience. The new suites will offer minimal intervention and technology and also allow hospital staff to support patients and families in their labor and birthing goals.
The hospital will also provide a variety of options for comfort during unmedicated labor including aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit to reduce pain. Additionally, the Family Birth Place at the hospital also offers nitrous oxide for pain relief, the first hospital in Arkansas to do so. A similar birthing suite is slated to open at Willow Creek Women’s Hospital in early April.
Both hospitals are part of Springdale-based Northwest Health.
“Our new, state-of-the-art suite offers low-risk patients a comfortable experience for childbirth,” said Whitney Tolbert, OB Services Director for Bentonville’s Family Birth Place. “The spacious room will accommodate expectant mothers and their support person in moving around and trying multiple positions in labor, which can increase comfort and speed progress. We encourage parents to bring music and enjoy a relaxing low-light ambiance in this spa-like room to help ease discomfort. We’re pleased that The Family Birth Place is the first facility in the state to offer a Low-Intervention Birthing Suite with the capability of a labor tub, queen-sized bed and nitrous oxide within the hospital.”
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) add another dimension to both programs. While a midwife has been in practice at Willow Creek Women’s Hospital for some time, a new midwife has recently gained privileges to practice at NMC-Bentonville. Patients who desire midwifery services now have the ability to deliver with a CNM in both hospitals. They are the only two hospitals in the state with full-scope practicing midwives.
Obstetrician-gynecologists — in collaboration with midwives, nurses, and those who support the patient in labor — can help women meet their goals for labor and birth by using techniques that require minimal interventions and have high rates of patient satisfaction.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, can be associated with improved outcomes for women in labor, shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries and fewer reports of dissatisfaction with the experience of labor.
While the low-intervention suite is opening in February, Tolbert said all current labor suites at the hospital are capable of low interventional pain management options and wireless monitoring. What sets the Low Intervention Suite apart from other suites is the labor tub for water immersion and the queen-sized, family-friendly bed.
At Willow Creek, the new family birthing suite will open within the next few weeks.
The two Northwest Health hospitals also both offer Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), with a Level III unit in Willow Creek and a Level II in Bentonville.