Maternity wards and rewards

Laniado, Bikur Cholim and Hadassah: three hospitals that provide quality maternity services.

Natural delivery (photo credit: Courtesy)
Natural delivery
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel is a very developed country, and its medical establishments are considered among the most advanced in the world. This includes facilities and services related to giving birth.
On an annual basis, there are approximately 160,000 births in Israel. The infant mortality rates are very low, approximately four deaths to every 1,000 births. This is lower than the average rates in many Western countries and is proof of the excellence of the maternity treatment in this country.
All hospitals have maternity wards and delivery rooms. Here, we will focus on three hospitals -- Laniado, Bikur Cholim and Hadassah. They are examples of hospitals that provide excellent maternity services.
Through them we will highlight some important aspects of modern delivery techniques: a: Natural delivery techniques b: Neonatal intensive care units c: Safety procedures both mother and baby.
Laniado Hospital in Netanya is a private hospital that prides itself on the quality of the facilities for natural childbirth. Natural childbirth means using as little outside intervention as possible and letting nature take its course. It harks back to earlier times when women gave birth at home with the aid of a midwife or a doctor and without all the modern devices designed to facilitates delivery and dull the pain. Most hospitals in Israel have a section that caters to women who want to have natural childbirth, but at Laniado it is their specialty.
Pnina Rozenwasser, head midwife at Laniado and head of the Natural Childbirth Center, says, “The Natural Childbirth Center at Laniado is designed and decorated to create the impression that the delivery is taking place at home. Our staff specializes in natural childbirth techniques. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only hospital in Israel that allows women who had a caesarean delivery to undergo a natural childbirth process,” she says.
“At Laniado, we try to intervene in the natural birth process as little as possible. In most hospitals, doctors try to accelerate birth artificially after the 39th or 40th week. Here, we are willing to wait until the 41st week of pregnancy.”
During 2010 Laniado had 7,000 deliveries, of which 500 were natural. As Laniado is a private hospital, patients receive certain special services for an additional fee. There are private rooms that are well equipped and furnished, which cost an extra NIS 450 a night. And if they are prepared to pay for it, patients can be attended to by their personal physician, midwife or private nurse.
There is also a high degree of personal attention. There are eight delivery suites furnished and equipped to the highest standards. And if the mother is recovering from a difficult delivery, the newborn is brought to the delivery room to be fed by its mother.
Another hospital famous for its level of service is Bikur Cholim, located in the center of Jerusalem. Dr. Ralph Pollack, the hospital’s medical director, explains that Bikur Cholim is very much oriented towards maternity and to overseas patients.
“Maternity-related issues take up more than one-third of our activities, and 25 percent of our maternity clients are not Israeli passport holders.”
The pride of Bikur Cholim is its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). It has 24 beds and the most upto- date equipment. It was recently rebuilt and decorated at a cost of nearly $2 million. The hospital is located in a historic 19th-century Templer building, and the NICU is designed in the style of the Knights Hall in Acre.
Dr. Ilan Gurm, head of the NICU ward and the nursery, explains the importance of the ward. “There are 160,000 annual births in Israel, of which 5% need intensive care. Half of these children are born premature, and intensive care helps the infants grow and develop properly.”
Bikur Cholim is also famous for its policy of minimal intervention. In the US and other Western countries, the number of babies delivered by means of a caesarean section is growing . In Israel the number of caesarean deliveries is 20%. At Bikur Cholim, says Pollack “only 10% of babies are delivered by a caesarean operation -- half the national average.”