Expectant VMC mothers tour San Bortolo Hospital
April 28, 2014
VICENZA, Italy - Expectant mothers in the Vicenza Military Community learned what to expect when expecting at the San Bortolo hospital in downtown Vicenza during a tour April 14. The U.S. Army Health Center Vicenza organized the tour after announcing the closure of its Birthing Center.
"The Health Center began hosting tours of San Bortolo's obstetrical services as a result of the impending closure of our Birthing Center," said Col. Andrew Barr, commander, USAHC Vicenza. "The tours are provided as a collaborative service with the hospital staff at San Bortolo to provide our expectant mothers and their families a personal orientation to the facilities and services that they will utilize during their pre-natal, birthing and post-partum care in Vicenza."
Barr said that tours are scheduled with expectant mothers based on their due dates and are coordinated by USAHC staff. On this particular tour, three mothers each came contemplating unique situations. One mother-to-be was preparing for the arrival of her first child and a second had scheduled a cesarean section for her third birth. The third expectant mother had had her first child on the economy in Germany and was electing to have her second child born in an Italian hospital.
"Because my daughter was born in Germany we thought it would be cool to have this one born in Italy," Alyssa Swedberg said.
San Bortolo obstetrics head nurse Paola Bortolotto gave the three mothers and their husbands a tour that ran from the initial check-in to the postpartum area. The extensive information will help expectant parents plan for their future check-ups and know what to expect in the time leading up to birth. She also explained the San Bortolo definition of "active labor," which is dilation to 3-4 centimeters. Induction methods were also discussed. Mothers learned that they would have a chance to speak about various options with their anesthesiologist before delivery.
San Bortolo, like the USAHC Birthing Center, conducts a "skin-to-skin" familiarity program with newborns and their mothers. If mothers have had a C-section or are unavailable, fathers can participate. They can also assist with the baby's first bath.
The touring mothers were reassured that translators would be available while they are in labor and even in the operating room if wanted.
Nearly every birth scenario was discussed, from water breaking and the timeframes that follow. Several health care providers from USAHC Vicenza were also on the tour to help educate military families about how things are done at San Bortolo, including descriptions of treatments the newborns receive, from vitamin K shots to eyedrops.
In the delivery room, the mothers were pleasantly surprised to see birthing tubs and to learn that water births are an option at San Bortolo.
One of the highlights of the tour was viewing the nido, or nest, Italian for the nursery. At San Bortolo mothers have the option to keep their babies in their room, but if they need a nap or rest, the babies can stay in the nursery. The expectant mothers also got to view private rooms that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The postpartum rooms typically have two or three beds.
"On average, with no complications, mothers can expect a normal stay time in the hospital for 48 hours," said USAHC Vicenza patient representative Jo Penhallegon, who assisted with translation during the tour.
As the tour ended, the mothers were given a list detailing items the hospital provides to families of the newborn, from diapers to outfits.
For information about upcoming tours call Penhallegon at 0444-61-9106.