When Kate Middleton, the Duchess of York, stepped out on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington after giving birth to her third child last month, she was radiant.
Beautifully dressed and coiffed, including earrings, full makeup and high-heeled shoes, she and her husband, Prince William, introduced their then-unnamed baby boy to the world before being whisked away in a Land Rover to return to their well-staffed home, just about eight hours after the delivery.
Kate’s personal hairdresser and her stylist are credited with helping her to look so glamorous after the births of each of her three children: George, 4; Charlotte, 3; and most recently, Louis.
While not every mom should expect to leave the hospital or birthing center just hours after delivering looking like a Duchess, Kate Middleton’s labor and delivery experience was not much different than what patients at Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Breidegam Family Birthing Center can expect.
Midwives ran Kate’s delivery
It’s reported that Kate is a strong supporter of Great Britian’s National Health Service (NHS) nurses and has relied on the services of NHS midwives to see her through all of her labors and deliveries.
At St. Joseph’s, highly trained Certified Nurse Midwives are available to care for patients throughout pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Midwives also provide general gynecological care.
Sabrina Turner, Lead Midwife at St. Joseph’s Downtown Campus, said that midwives have been caring for women throughout history, and believe that, as much as it is possible, every woman should have the birth experience she desires.
Midwives attend births in many different settings, including homes, freestanding birth centers and hospitals, with the majority of them working in hospital settings.
Turner said that, while midwives are qualified and capable of handling most births. If complications arise, however, midwives at St. Joseph immediately consult with physicians.
Kate delivered in a one-stop birthing suite
Kate Middleton delivered her children in a birthing suite at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. The Breidegam Family Birthing Center also employs birthing suites, where moms labor, deliver, recover and stay in one private room.
Each room is equipped with a sofa bed for a support person, a whirlpool tub, Wi-Fi and flat-screen television. And, although the rooms have a homey, comfortable feel, each one contains necessary medical supplies and equipment stashed away in cabinets, closets or behind wall art.
And, while Kate was released with her third child about eight hours after delivering, moms in the Breidegam Birthing Center typically remain in their suites for one to two days following a vaginal birth and three to four days following a cesarean section.
Reports indicate that Kate breastfeeds her children
It is known that Kate nursed her first two children, George and Charlotte, and speculated that she also is nursing Louis. That’s good news, according to Cindi Griffis, a lactation specialist at St. Joseph’s and an International Board-Certfied Lactation Consultant.
Studies show that babies who are breast fed have lower incidence of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, dermatitis, childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, gastrointestinal infections and Type I and Type II diabetes.
Mothers who breastfeed their babies have lower incidences of breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes. And, studies suggest that breastfeeding reduces the risk of osteoporosis later in life and may help to avoid post-partum depression.
Breastfeeding also contains economic benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that infant formula on average costs a family in the United States between $1,200 and $1,500 a year.
And, statistics show that, if 50 percent of babies were breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a minimum of $3.6 billion could be saved in medical expenses.
All moms who deliver at St. Joseph’s are encouraged to breastfeed and are supported by lactation specialists and other caregivers.
Kate is a hands-on, loving mother to her children
Like her husband’s mother, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton is a hands-on mom, often seen out with her children, enjoying their company.
To encourage parent-child bonding just after birth, Penn State Health St. Joseph, Birthing Center staff urges all parents to practice skin-to-skin care, also known as kangaroo care.
The simple procedure involves nestling a diaper-clad baby between her mother’s breasts or against a father’s bare chest. A cloth is placed over the baby’s back for warmth, and the parent and child merely sit or lie together.
Developed in South America as a means of keeping premature infants warm, kangaroo care has become mainstream in many birthing centers and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the United States. Its benefits have been widely recognized and clinically supported.
Karen Sponagle, manager of St. Joseph’s Family Birth Center, said kangaroo care is important for every baby, particularly those in the NICU.
“When babies are in the NICU the moms typically can’t do too much for them,” she said. “But when they do kangaroo care, it makes such as difference. It’s good for both moms and babies.”
All moms are beautiful
While most patients who deliver in the Breidagam Family Birth Center may not leave the hospital with perfect hair and makeup, they will leave with the assurance that they have received the best care possible, and that support for them from hospital staff will continue postpartum.
And that, said Sponagle, is what Penn State Health St. Joseph is all about.
Kim Hunter, MSN, RN, OB Nurse Navigator Planning a pregnancy? Expecting this year? Want to check out our birthing center? Or just have general questions? Call Kim Hunter, MSN, RN, OB Nurse Navigator and let her be your personal guide.
610-378-2569 | KHunter3@PennStateHealth.psu.edu | www.StJoesSpecialDeliveries.org