LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Barton Birthing Center | TahoeDailyTribune.com

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Barton Birthing Center

I’m an expecting mother and I just completed the Saturday Labor class offered by Barton, which included a tour of the new Birthing Unit. This is the second article on the upgrades and there has been a significant amount of advertising around town as well.

I want to offer a less rosy review. While the hardwood floors and cabinets certainly increase the overall appeal of the place, I was disappointed that the re-model was restricted to aesthetics.

The most upsetting thing is that Barton does not have telemetry fetal monitors. Instead of a belt unit that allows the woman to move freely, the staff asks the laboring woman to don a huge elastic band and then tethers her to the fetal monitoring machine with cords!

Would you want an elastic band around your stomach if it was heaving in contractions? Especially for woman that go without an epidural, being able to move around freely is of critical importance to a comfortable laboring process.

Remote fetal monitors are not new technology and should be part of any modern birthing facility. Also, I’d heard rumors of the big new birthing tubs, but the two bathtubs looked shorter than most standard 5-foot tubs and seem too small and shallow to be of much use. You certainly could not have a labor coach in there with you. While I’m sure I will enjoy the flat-screen after I give birth in May, the lack of attention to some of the basic needs and comfort of the woman make me wish I could go someplace else to have my child.

Alison Stanton

South Lake Tahoe

Electronic Fetal Monitoring by telemetry is a concept that has been around for a long time. In the early 1990s this concept was popular and many hospitals invested in it.

The problem with fetal monitoring by telemetry is that the equipment is bulky, heavy and not that effective. Very few hospitals use it any more because the standards set by the “Guidelines for Perinatal Care,” established by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, for the average “low risk” patient can be accomplished by intermittent auscultation (listening.) This means the nurse will listen to and assess the baby’s heart rate at 15 minute to 30 minute intervals, depending on what stage of labor the mother is in. This practice leaves the patient free to move about without bulky belts, thick wires and a battery pack/transmitter that was as big as a thick paperback novel but far heavier.

Hospitals moved away from telemetry fetal monitoring technology, including Barton’s Family Birthing Center, for several reasons:

The information obtained has not proven to be superior to intermittent auscultation.

Patients generally did not like to carry around all of the equipment.

That technology made no difference in outcomes.

That technology has not advanced appreciably since the early 1990s.

Intermittent auscultation allows women more freedom of movement.

Barton’s Family Birthing Center has always prided its self on obtaining the latest technology available in order to offer the most comfortable and the safest delivery for mothers, their babies and their families.

Peggy Wright,

Director of Perinatal Services,

Barton Memorial Hospital쇓

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