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New birthing center, neonatal intensive care unit to open at MetroHealth

MetroHealth officials and medical staff celebrated the opening of the new birthing center on Thursday.
Taylor Wizner
Ideastream Public Media
MetroHealth officials and medical staff celebrated the opening of the new birthing center on Thursday.

Next week, patients will be able to deliver their babies in a newly-renovated maternity ward at MetroHealth’s main campus.

On Thursday, the health system unveiled a new birthing center as part of the ongoing nearly $1 billion transformation of its main campus medical center in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood.

Each of the 10 labor and delivery rooms has big windows, patient-controlled mood lighting and large showers. There is also dedicated space in each birthing room for newborn care, including an advanced wireless system for fetal monitoring, MetroHealth officials said.

Dr. Donald Wiper, MetroHealth’s Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said they made sure the upgraded birthing center put mothers’ comfort first.

“I think people that had babies in the old space were taken care of wonderfully,” he said. “But if they come to the new space, their eyes will roll back in their head, because it’s the most beautiful thing in Cleveland now.”

Wiper said the new facility’s layout means moms are much closer to babies if they need to be cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit or the nursery.

One expectant mother, Alanna Ogunmola, toured the facility ahead of its opening. She said it’s bigger than Metro’s old birthing center, where she gave birth to her last child.

“I feel like they have a lot more amenities,” she said. “The mood lighting was cute. The showers were really nice.”

Ogunmola, who was there with her partner, said it looks like her family will have more space to visit during her next birth.

Wiper said the new facility is part of the system’s larger goal of offering high-quality medical care close to Clevelanders’ homes.

“Renovating this whole area is a tangible statement saying we’re still here,” Wiper said. “We’ve been on this exact spot for 200 years. We’re not going to go to a suburban community. We’re going to stay where we’ve always been and stay committed to the people of Cleveland.”

Taylor Wizner is a health reporter with Ideastream Public Media.