Salt Lake City, Utah (Good Things Utah) — Intermountain Health hospitals offer a variety of options for pregnant patients for labor and delivery and postpartum care. Pregnant patients can opt to see an OB/Gyn or certified nurse midwife, and they may see a maternal fetal medicine specialist if their pregnancy is high risk.

Pregnant patients may have varying preferences about the environment and care surrounding their baby’s birth.

Intermountain has a Patient’s Choice Birth Plan for expectant parents to fill out their birth plan options such as if they prefer a non-medicated or low-intervention childbirth, or if they prefer various pain relief options such as nitrous oxide or an epidural.

Patients can also specify their desires for their birth experience to aid in their comfort during labor and birth.

“It’s important to have a general idea of your birth plan and options. But sometimes things don’t go as planned and we have to adapt. Our number one goal is a healthy mom and healthy baby,” said Erin Packer, RN, a nurse and certified childbirth educator at Intermountain Layton Hospital.

Packer says childbirth education classes can help women be more informed and at ease about labor and have a better birth experience. A variety of classes and programs are offered.

Simply Birth Offers Low-Intervention Birth for Low-Risk Pregnancies

Simply Birth is designed for women who have low-risk pregnancies and are seeking a low-intervention birth. The hospital suite offers the freedom, look and comfort of a home birth or birthing center, but it’s inside a hospital, which ensures that full medical support is immediately available.

Simply Birth offers the best of both worlds – an experience that is more like a birthing center, but that takes place inside a hospital in case complications arise.

Candidates for the Simply Birth Program Need to:

  • Apply and be screened to see if their pregnancy is low risk.
  • Be seeking an unmedicated birth (no epidural)
  • Be willing to learn alternative pain management techniques such as: breathing, relaxation, positions and massage
  • Have labor support (husband, partner, sister, mother, friend or doula)
  • Take the required two classes
  • Go into labor spontaneously between 37-41 weeks

Women in the Simply Birth program complete their entire hospital stay in the labor and delivery room and often like to go home early, in less than 24 hours. After a pediatrician sees their baby in the hospital they can opt to go home.

“Moms who are expecting their first baby may be nervous about labor and delivery. It’s normal to have those feelings. Your baby will love you from the beginning. You will be great mom,” said Packer.

“Stress can prolong labor. Our classes help parents learn progressive relaxation and relaxation breathing. Start at the top of your head and relax each body part. Taking three deep breaths, releases endorphins and gives you a burst of energy. You can use this during labor and also use it in everyday life,” said Packer.

The classes also teach partners to use massaging techniques and to identify pressure points in the hips, and lower back. Pushing on these points helps release tension.

“A laboring patient’s jaw can also hold lots of tension. Partners can massage the temporal mandibular joint areas around the jaw and also massage up into the forehead,” said Packer.

All Intermountain hospitals offer moms the opportunity to indicate birth plan options.

Intermountain offers Simply Birth at Intermountain Layton Hospital, Intermountain St. George Regional Medical Center, and Intermountain Cedar City Hospital.

At Intermountain Layton Hospital there is a five-week “Hypnosis for Birth” class, which starts in May and is offered in-person or online. Intermountain Layton Hospital will also begin offering a water birth class.

“Your birth experience stays with you. You might not remember the exact names of the many nurses that care for you, but you’ll remember how you were treated,” said Packer.

Women can talk to their doctor or midwife about their upcoming birth experience. And they can call their local hospital or visit their website for a virtual or in-person labor and delivery tour. Intermountain offers childbirth education classes in-person or online.

For more information visit your local hospital’s webpage or the women’s health page.

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