HUP dept. delivers precious bundles of joy

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) delivers more than 4,100 babies each year, slightly less than its older sibling, Pennsylvania Hospital.

Obstetricians and perinatologists at HUP are in charge of deliveries, and provide expecting mothers with state-of-the-art prenatal care, expertise during labor and delivery, and comprehensive post-delivery care for moms, newborns, dads, and families.

Sindhu K. Srinivas, director of obstetrical services at HUP and an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine, says women come from all over the region to deliver babies at the hospital, with a significant proportion consisting of women from the surrounding West Philadelphia community.

The multidisciplinary obstetrical care team consists of attending physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners, residents, and nursing staff who provide exceptional, round-the-clock care during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postdelivery. The team works with anesthesiologists, lactation specialists, a social work group, neonatologists, and pediatricians to meet the needs of patients and their newborns.

“We have a very comprehensive care delivery team on labor and delivery that encompasses both general OB/GYNs, midwives, and family medicine physicians, as well as high-risk physicians, as well as our great nursing and advanced provider staff,” Srinivas says. “We have a strong commitment to patient safety and quality.”

The Labor and Delivery Unit contains three operating rooms, and 13 spacious and quiet labor and delivery suites equipped with the latest technology, such as central fetal  monitoring and electronic medical records.

Natural birth services are available, if desired.

“We try to support the individual woman and family’s birth plan,” Srinivas says, “whatever that might be.”

With two sites, one at HUP and another at 3701 Market St., the Antenatal Testing Unit sees pregnant women who are experiencing complications that require weekly or bi-weekly testing and observation.

The Perinatal Evaluation Center, a triage unit, serves as a pregnancy emergency center and cares for around 800-850 women per month.

“Women come in for a variety of pregnancy-related complaints,” Srinivas says.

The Postpartum Maternity Unit gives inclusive post-birth care, such as regular screenings of newborns before they are discharged, contraception counseling, childhood education, and baby-safety classes taught by pediatricians.

To promote bonding between mother and infant as well as breastfeeding, HUP supports “rooming in,” keeping a mother and her newborn together as long as it is medically safe and appropriate, and is on its way to pursuing Baby-Friendly Hospital status, a global effort that promotes breastfeeding.

Providers at HUP collaborate with the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which provides specialized care, including surgery if necessary, for mothers carrying a baby with a known birth defect. The center offers a variety of services, ranging from prenatal evaluation and diagnosis to treatment, including newly developed techniques for fetal surgery.

Srinivas estimates that she has personally delivered more than 1,000 babies during her years as a resident, fellow, and attending physician at HUP. The heaviest was 10-and-a-half pounds, and the smallest to survive was 500 grams (slightly more than a pound).

She says the work that she does, supporting families through their birthing experience, is “pretty incredible” and never gets routine.

“Every birth experience is unique for that family, and that makes it an incredibly special and exceptional experience for the provider, being a part of that family’s experience,”  she says. “I find it to be different and amazing every single time.”

HUP labor and delivery