Local Birthing Location Options: Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN

Here is a quick overview of a local birthing location: Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. You can find a virtual tour of the facility here and information about the Mother/Baby Unit (for recovery) here.

This information comes from my personal correspondence with representatives of the hospital and was last updated in May 2021.

Photo courtesy of Memorial Hospital

Quick Overview

  • Number of births per year: ~1,000
  • The most recent cesarean rate: ~24%
  • Baby-Friendly designation: yes, you can find more information about that here.
  • Offers childbirth education: yes, you can find a list of course offerings here.
  • Hydrotherapy available: yes, both tubs and showers.
  • Waterbirth available: yes, and all ten birthing suites have tubs.   

Support People

  • Number of support people permitted: (keep in mind that given covid-19, this number is constantly in flux) currently, two support people are permitted in addition to a certified or trained doula. Before covid, up to four support people were permitted. 
  • Doula policy or restrictions: Memorial currently allows any doula who has gone through a formal and legitimate training or certification process; which processes count seems to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Routine Protocols

  • Routine protocol for IV: IVs are encouraged but can of course be refused. 
  • Routine protocol for fetal monitoring: routine for a low-risk pregnancy with no complications is for fetal monitoring to occur every hour early in labor and up to every five minutes later in labor. If the patient is on pitocin or has an epidural, fetal monitoring is routinely continuous.
  • Protocol for ambulation during labor: routinely, walking and moving around is encouraged and wireless monitors make this possible in most cases. This is not routine if the patient is hypertensive or has another contraindication for ambulation per their provider.
  • Protocol for eating and drinking during labor: this depends on the provider. The midwives who work at the hospital encourage or don’t discourage eating and drinking during labor, but some OBs discourage it. Eating and drinking is usually suggested to be limited or discouraged for a patient with an epidural.
  • Protocol for VBAC: the hospital requires that whenever a patient is trying for a VBAC, there must be a provider on duty who can do an emergency c-section and who is made aware of the patient’s case. The rest is up to the particular provider the patient is seeing. 

Additional Information:

  • Most recent episiotomy rate: the hospital did not have numbers for this for me, but the representative stressed that episiotomies are not routine.
  • Cesarean delivery: for c-sections, one support person is allowed in the OR with the patient. Skin-to-skin in the OR is encouraged, and if the patient isn’t able to do it, the support person is encouraged to do so. There are no clear drapes available, but there are mirrors for patients who want to watch the birth of their baby.
  • NICU: Memorial’s Level III NICU is the referral center for the Michiana area. You can learn more about their services here.

Other Important Notes

  • Other offerings at Memorial include aromatherapy, routine delay of cord clamping, and birthing and peanut balls.
  • Memorial prioritizes 1-on-1 nursing for labor patients, and all nurses are required to go through labor support and aromatherapy training.
  • Also, there are lactation services available, including IBCLCs, support groups, and a breastfeeding hotline. (*personal note: I have called that hotline MANY TIMES and have always found the IBCLCs who answer to be informed, helpful, and compassionate. I highly recommend them.)

To learn more about the offerings at Memorial, please contact Memorial Hospital’s Women and Children Services (also referred to as “the Childbirth Center”) at 574-647-7454.

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