This winter, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian will open the Fudge Family Birthing Suites at Hoag Hospital Irvine, which reimagines 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 the most prestigious nursing credentials in the nation and the most trusted maternity staff in Orange County, 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 Hoag’s 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, whose generous financial gift made them possible.
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 level 2 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 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 is also co-developing 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. This 22-week perinatal VR program will provide education, professional support, stress resilience training, emotional regulation practice and self-efficacy skill building for expectant and postpartum mothers. Women can even customize their virtual prenatal experiences to include their own uploaded 3D ultrasounds.
“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 18,000-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.
Hoag’s commitment to Irvine and the surrounding communities has always been focused on expanding convenient access to world-class care. The acute care services available at Hoag Hospital Irvine are directly across the street from Hoag Health Center Irvine – Sand Canyon, which was designed as a community-centric health care “village” offering a wide range of specialized and comprehensive health care services.
“Hoag’s health care village model provides highly personalized, simplified and comprehensive medical and preventative care in modern facilities, bringing Hoag’s renowned services where they are needed most – right where people live and work,” said Marcy Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Hospital Operations Officer at Hoag. “Expanding women’s services in Irvine with the opening of the Fudge Family Birthing Suites make it easier than ever for women and families to access our renowned services and programs without leaving their community.”
For more information, visit Hoag.org/birthing-suites.