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Hoag Hospital Expands Maternity Services with the Opening of the Fudge Family Birthing Suites

By Stu News Newport

December 15, 2020

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has opened the Fudge Family Birthing Suites at Hoag Hospital Irvine, reimagining pregnancy, delivery and recovery for modern families – with private birthing suites, a perinatal VR guided program and a calming outdoor walking garden.

Already a leader in women’s health, with some of the most prestigious nursing credentials in the nation and a highly trusted maternity staff, Hoag has listened to the needs and desires of today’s new mothers in designing 12 birthing suites in Irvine that are unlike anything else available in a hospital setting. The suites include a number of enhancements to a traditional maternity model including access to midwives, birth plan preferences and single room maternity care. Moms-to-be will experience labor, delivery and the first precious moments with their newborns all in the same hospital room.

“In designing these suites, we listened to women at all stages of the birthing journey and created an ideal set of services to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. The suites are designed by women for women to nurture them through this incredible moment,” said Allyson Brooks, M.D., Ginny Ueberroth Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair and Chief Quality Officer, Hoag Women’s Health Institute. “These suites represent a paradigm shift in maternity care that is being driven by a generation of new moms. We are proud of what they have helped us create.”

An extension of the world-renowned maternity services at the Newport Beach campus of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, the new Fudge Family Birthing Suites combines the reassurance of a Hoag delivery with a family-centered design and home-like amenities. The suites were named in honor of Orange County philanthropist Gary Fudge, who is passionate about using his philanthropy to elevate the health care experience.

Accommodating evolving trends in maternity care in Irvine, one of the nation’s fastest-growing communities, the new suites offer the ability to labor, deliver and recover in the same room, as well as two C-section operating rooms and a nursery staffed 24/7 by an expert team including OB/GYN hospitalists, certified nurse midwives and board-certified anesthesiologists and neonatologists. Located on the first floor of the hospital, the Fudge Family Birthing Suites offers an adjacent private outdoor walking garden to serve as a calming influence on expectant mothers.

“We are really excited to invite the midwifery model of care into the birthing suites,” said Kimberly Tillotson, C.N.M., director of the birthing suites and OB education at Hoag. “Certified nurse midwives provide a wide range of primary health services, and many patients today are looking for the kind of wellness education, care and counseling that they deliver.”

Hoag has also co-developed NurtureVR, a virtual reality program designed by Dr. Brooks and by neurosurgeon Robert G. Louis, M.D., program director of the skull base and pituitary tumor program at Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and Hoag Empower360 Endowed Chair for Skull Base and Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, in partnership with BehaVR. NurtureVR harnesses the latest research in virtual reality’s positive effects on education and empowerment, behavioral health and pain management. NurtureVR provides access to 14 weeks’ worth of perinatal education, mindfulness and meditation capabilities and other immersive experiences to support expectant mothers. After the baby is born, the program continues for an additional eight weeks, with topics that cover maternal-baby bonding, partner intimacy, stress, hormonal and emotional changes. Building on decades of research, this unique, personalized program nurtures mothers’ relationships with their babies, lowers stress and promotes wellbeing.

“Today’s families have a clear idea of what they want from their birthing experience, and we are excited to be able to provide safe, comfortable and nurturing environments for their momentous and life changing event,” Dr. Brooks said. “Integrating state-of-the-art medical advances into a calming environment will create a birthing experience that is like no other. This is particularly true when it comes to our NurtureVR program. Studies show that the use of virtual reality during labor empowers a woman during her birthing experience, reduces the experience of pain and may also lessen the amount of pain medication needed during delivery.”

Hoag officials said the 31,600-square-foot labor and delivery suites will help meet the growing need for maternity services in Irvine. The rapid growth in and around Irvine has resulted in an expanding population of households with young children. Irvine consistently ranks as one of the best places to raise a family. In 2019, nearly 7,000 babies were delivered at Hoag’s Newport Beach campus – and 34 percent of the new mothers were from the greater Irvine area.

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