Bethesda Hospital East

Family-Centered Maternity Care Program
Program Promotes Bonding between Moms and Babies at Birth


As one of the busiest maternity hospitals in Palm Beach County, Bethesda has introduced a new concept in the care of new mothers and their newborns called Family-Centered Maternity Care.


This program keeps new mothers and babies together from the moment of birth, and keeps them together in the same room, cared for by one mother-baby Registered Nurse. This mother-baby nurse helps new families understand their newborn’s needs and allows for individualized care during the newborn’s first days of life.


“There is something that is so special about the bond that happens when a mother sees her newborn for the first time, and now, Bethesda is enhancing that bond to strengthen the entire family unit during their hospital stay,” said Geralyn Lunsford, Vice President, Patient Services.


In traditional maternity hospitals, babies are typically cared for immediately after birth in the newborn nursery setting and then returned to the mother. As part of Family-Centered Maternity Care, the newborn is placed skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest immediately after birth, allowing for the most intimate contact between mother and infant. This “magic hour” is the time when babies are alert, giving parents and babies the best opportunity to get to know each other. All baby care then occurs in the mother’s room, where the baby will stay right next to mom. 


Advantages of Family-Centered Maternity Care:

  • Care that adapts to the mother and baby, promoting family bonding
  • More support and opportunity for successful breastfeeding
  • Better communication between the obstetrician, pediatrician and nursing team


Developed by nationally renowned expert Celeste R. Phillips, RN, of Phillips & Fenwick, in Santa Cruz, California, there are now several hundred Family Centered Maternity Care programs around the country.