Two newly opened operating rooms dedicated to obstetrics at the Red Deer Regional Hospital will improve the experience for mothers and free up critically needed space for general surgeries, say doctors and patients.
The $9.7-million expansion of the labour and delivery unit includes a new recovery area where parents can spend time their newborns more quickly following a C-section.
That was a welcome change for Veronica Clark, who delivered her youngest daughter at the facility last week and said it was a "night and day" difference compared to her C-section at the same hospital two years ago.
At that time, she said babies were taken to a separate area and mothers didn't get a chance to see them for up to an hour while they recovered from the surgery.
"The hour in the recovery room felt like the longest time of my life — all I could do was think about what she was going to look like," Clark said.
"This time around it was really special because I got to hold her and I didn't have to wonder what she was going to be like. I got to experience that right away."
Dr. Christopher Cham, head of obstetrics at the hospital, said the new operating rooms will also offer more privacy and less stress for labouring mothers who require an emergency delivery.
In the past, they had to be taken to a general operating room in another part of the hospital.
That will also free up the hospital's general operating rooms, which is expected to allow for roughly 330 more surgeries each year.
"As you know, there have been concerns about capacity here at the Red Deer Regional Hospital and that is something we want and need to address," said Alberta Health Services president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu.
Roughly 2,700 babies are born at the Red Deer Regional Hospital each year, according to Alberta Health.
That includes about 480 emergency C-sections and 420 elective C-sections.
The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation donated an additional $1.2 million to support the new operating rooms with equipment like baby warming centres, fetal monitors, physiological monitoring equipment and anesthetic machines.
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