Healthy Tahoe: Delivering care mothers and babies

Mandi Weavil, MD

As a mother and as a physician, I understand there are many unknowns right now for moms as they prepare to deliver their babies. Despite the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic, Barton Health continues to provide compassionate care that puts mothers and babies first. Barton’s practices in place honor the needs of mother and child while upholding everyone’s health and safety.

Barton makes carefully calculated decisions with our patients’ best interests in mind, and we do what we feel is best for our community while following state and federal guidelines for maternity care. Our practices can differ from other hospitals in the state because of this. Allow me to shine a light on our procedures, and offer some reassurance for parents-to-be during these unprecedented times: A support person, as well as a doula can be with the delivering mother at the hospital

Barton’s Family Birthing Center allows one support person and also one certified doula or midwife to join the mother in her private room. The support person could be her partner, a friend or family member, or whomever she chooses. Both the doula and the support person have in and out privileges at the hospital, should they need to leave and come back. They must follow screening and face covering rules, for the safety of patients and healthcare workers alike. If the support person doesn’t have a mask, they will be provided with one, and must wear it at all times.

Barton enables skin-to-skin contact, even if the mother is COVID-positive

Mothers are tested for COVID-19 as their due date draws near as recommended by their doctor, and may get a rapid result test when admitted to the hospital. If she tests positive, the mother is provided with a face mask and her upper body is cleansed with a special soap so the newborn baby can be placed on her for skin-to-skin contact, bonding, and the first attempt at breastfeeding together.

Every effort is made to keep mothers and their babies together

Our team of labor and delivery experts believe families need to be together, especially in those precious first moments. Even if she is COVID-positive, the mother is not separated from her baby. Barton invests in training and equipment for newborn care to keep babies close, and avoid medical circumstances that would require them being sent to a neonatal intensive care facility.

Mothers and babies have unconditional breastfeeding support

Besides enabling skin-to-skin contact (even if the mother has COVID-19), the Family Birthing Center has skilled nursing staff who are certified lactation consultants. Our team knows how important breastfeeding is, and we are dedicated to helping get mothers and babies on this journey. This is one of many practices that promote healthier outcomes for mothers and babies, and earned national recognition for Barton as a Blue Distinction Center(R) for Maternity Care.

Exceptional care is available around the clock

Barton Family Birthing Center is fully staffed with nurses, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians to provide all aspects of medical care for maternity, labor and delivery when needed. Barton Memorial Hospital has one of the lowest c-section rates in California. My fellow board-certified physicians and I take great pride in working with mothers on this aspect of their delivery, as well as offering experienced surgical options should they be needed. Moms also have the option to pursue a vaginal birth after a previous c-section, or VBAC, if deemed safe by a physician.

We want welcoming a baby to be a joyful moment in the lives of our community, and we are here to provide safe and healthy care for mothers and babies. We are all adapting to the challenges of the pandemic, and will continue to work with families to provide the best possible outcome for them. If you have questions about medical care through Barton Women’s Health, don’t hesitate to call our office: 530.543.5711.

Dr. Mandi Weavil is medical director at Barton Women’s Health, and Board-certified Obstetrics & Gynecology physician.

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