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A New Approach to Giving Birth

‘Your Baby, Your Way’ at Hudson Valley Hospital Center 

Expectant mothers should have the birth experience they choose rather than enduring a burdensome medical procedure. That’s the approach taken by the maternal/child health staff at Hudson Valley Hospital Center (HVHC), a not-for-profit hospital located in Cortlandt Manor.

“We encourage patients to have a birth plan, so when they come in we have an idea how they would like to see their birth go,” says Sabrina Nitkowski-Keever, HVHC’s director of maternal/child health. “As soon as they come in, the nurses try to develop a rapport with the patient and her family. They try to develop that trusting relationship. ‘I’m going to do what I think you want, but you’re going to trust me to do what’s best for you.’”

While the center wants you to have the birth experience of your choice, the hospital has an expert medical staff, in addition to a Level II Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit and neonatologists. The hospital offers deliveries by obstetricians and midwives. Doulas, sometimes known as labor coaches, are also welcomed into the delivery room, which underscores how HVHC encourages you to keep the people you want at your side.

The center is focused on making the childbirth experience a joyous time and the next best thing to having your baby in the comfort of your own home. For its efforts, HVHC earned the designation as a “Baby Friendly” hospital by Baby Friendly USA, a group that promotes breastfeeding and infant health.

To fulfill that designation, HVHC met several stringent requirements, some of which included completing comprehensive training and, of course, providing new mothers with optimal care.

HVHC also has been recognized for excellence in breastfeeding support. Mothers are encouraged to begin breastfeeding right after birth in what is called skin-to-skin bonding. This can even be done in the operating room if the mother has to undergo a Cesarean Section. Studies show that immediate bonding not only helps babies acclimate to breastfeeding more quickly, but releases hormones in the mother so she can recover more quickly.

“It’s really about giving the patient information,” Nitkowski-Keever says. “Whatever her decisions are, we’re going to support her. If she decided she wants to formula feed, we are definitely supporting her in that as well. We have the information and support she needs.”

Expectant parents can learn all about the hospital and meet the obstetricians and midwives who practice there on May 10 when HVHC holds its fourth annual “Art of Having a Baby” Maternity Fair at the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown. To register for the Daddy Olympics or other activities at the event, visit their website at www.hvhc.org

Doreen Sheridan is such a fan of HVHC that she gave birth to all 10 of her children at the hospital. Doreen, who was also born at HVHC, lives in LaGrangeville, NY, with her husband Brian, but grew up in nearby Buchanan.

“I’ve had wonderful experiences with all my children at Hudson Valley Hospital,’’ she says. “The staff here is very caring and competent and the atmosphere is very comfortable.’’ 

Babies at HVHC stay in the same room with their mothers. So, by the time they leave the hospital, mothers and babies are experts with the breastfeeding process. Not only does HVHC have a lactation consultant to advise mothers in the hospital, but it also offers a phone assistance line that new mothers can call once they return home.

“We’re going to show you how to sleep better, bond better and you’ll get all of the education you need while keeping your baby in the room with you,” Nitkowski-Keever says. “That’s huge for patients. This is the most vital time for baby and mom and they need to be together.”

They can get more support from the consultant and other mothers at HVHC’s breastfeeding support group that meets twice a month.

Other benefits of HVHC include:

• A downloadable sample birth plan to be filled out and discussed with staff in order to help you achieve all of your goals.
• Sibling birth classes so older siblings can be part of this special day. (Family members are welcome during delivery.)
• Whirlpool tubs in every labor and delivery room. Mothers are encouraged to labor in the tubs to ease labor pains.

In addition, many hospitals require mothers to be tied to an IV line, which is uncomfortable and inhibits movement. Mothers at HVHC can walk the halls, use the whirlpool tubs and engage in physical activity to encourage labor and a faster birth.

“We listen to our families, we listen to our patients,” Nitkowski-Keever says. “I’m hoping we continue to grow and continue to be a pillar in our community. When people look for a hospital that will meet their needs, they’re going to look at Hudson Valley Hospital Center because they know that we’ll work with them and provide the experience they’re looking for.”

Hudson Valley Hospital Center
1980 Crompond Road
Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567

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