More than a dozen obstetrical units in area hospitals have closed in the recent past, so the ones who’ve opted to stay in the baby business tend to have stellar programs. From conception woes to genetic testing to pregnancies requiring absolute bed rest to delivery crises to life-giving intensive care for at-risk newborns, the variety of specialties related to child-bearing today is truly remarkable. Whether you become pregnant on your first attempt and breeze through nine months with nothing more than a touch of morning sickness or you need help from conception until you bring your baby home, there are hospitals in the region to assist you at every step along the way. Those listed below all offer a full menu of services and the jazzy technology that enables a 60-year-old woman to conceive or a one-pound baby to survive.
Between its two main facilities — HUP at 34th and Spruce and Pennsylvania Hospital at 8th and Spruce — Penn OB/GYN has just about everything available for mothers and newborns. Last year HUP delivered 3,000 babies, and Pennsylvania, nearly 5,000. Prenatal care, genetic counseling and screening, high-risk pregnancy, intensive care nurseries, childbirth education, lactation specialists, pregnancy loss evaluation and counseling, laborists trained exclusively in hospital deliveries, family planning, a retail shop featuring breast-feeding support products, birthing suites with whirlpool baths and rooms for dads to sleep over — every aspect of routine and emergency care is provided by respected physicians, many of whom are tops in the field. Penn Fertility Care has a high success rate, does cutting-edge research in the field, and works with cancer patients to provide reproductive counseling and options (8th and Spruce and 34th and Spruce; 800-789-PENN, pennhealth.com/obgyn)
The Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Jefferson is one of the largest providers of clinical perinatal care in the region. Services include high-risk obstetrics, prevention of premature births, genetic counseling, deliveries, fetal echocardiography, and much more. Its neonatal intensive care unit has 700 admissions a year and all the surgical options to save babies born with dangerous heart, lung, brain or spinal problems (Clinical Office, 834 Chestnut Street, suite 300, 215-955-7500, jeffersonhospital.org/obgyn).
Albert Einstein Medical Center has been delivering babies for 155 years, and its Ann Newman Maternity Center handled 3,000 births in 2007. The high volume has led to a major renovation of its maternity facility. Almost eight out of 10 obstetrics patients here are uninsured or on Medicaid, and many fall into the high-risk category, so Einstein has become expert at managing problem pregnancy. (5501 Old York Road, 800-EINSTEIN, Einstein.edu/yourhealth/womens).
The in-vitro fertilization program at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Bryn Mawr Hospital has an outstanding success rate and partners with Lance Armstrong’s “Fertile Hope” organization to counsel cancer patients. It was one of 12 centers in North and South America to participate in an experimental egg-freezing trial (130 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, 610-526-3000, mainlinehealth.org).
Many of the 7,600 babies born last year at High Risk Obstetrics at Virtua Health wouldn’t have made it without the assistance of this first-rate center. Virtua made a decision to build strength in this area less than 10 years ago by recruiting one of the first maternal fetal medicine experts in the U.S. His successor, Ronald Librizzi, who appears in the database of Best Doctors nationwide, has continued to build a stellar department. From technology to counseling to research, every aspect of high-risk pregnancy is covered here (101 Carnie Boulevard, Voorhees, 856-325-5000, virtua.org)
Commitment to this specialty is obvious in the newly opened $20 million neonatal intensive care unit of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Lankenau Hospital, where more than a thousand premature babies were cared for in the past two years. Come fall, a renovated and expanded home-like mother/baby center will be ready for moms-to-be. The high-risk pregnancy division under Nancy Roberts has one of the best reputations in the city (100 Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, 610-645-2000, mainlinehealth.org/lh).
Mother and Baby Care at Abington Hospital is another very busy place, having brought 4,800 babies into the world last year. This is a regional teaching hospital, complete with leading-edge technology used in fetal diagnostics, reproductive sciences and neonatal intensive care. The birthing suite has 22 labor/delivery rooms, an in-patient unit to house high-risk mothers, and an extensive community outreach education program (1200 Old York Road, Abington, 215-481-2300, amh.org).
The Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, led by Albert El-Roeiy, has a 50 percent success rate with in vitro fertilization for women under age 38, above the national average. It treats reproductive abnormalities in men and women and has been on the cutting edge of research into immunological causes of repeated pregnancy loss (1 Medical Center Boulevard, Upland, 610-447-2727, crozerfertility.com).
Brooke Shields’s memoir of her struggle with post-partum depression and Tom Cruise’s ridiculous denial that such a thing exists brought needed attention to this common condition that sends some women spiraling into a paralyzing funk after delivery. The Postpartum Stress Center specializes in support, education and counseling for women who find themselves unexplainably sad, anxious, moody or downright miserable at a time they expect to be full of joy. Executive director Karen Kleiman, a psychotherapist and author of two books about postpartum depression, heads a trained staff that does therapy and runs support groups for moms-to-be and new moms struggling with emotional conflicts (1062 Lancaster Avenue, Rosemont, 610-525-7527. Postpartumstress.com).