Courtesy of Tracy Donegan
A client of Mountain View resident and childbirth preparation instructor Tracy Donegan uses virtual-reality glasses to expose her to a different, less intimidating perspective of labor.
The birthing suites at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and Stanford Hospital are scheduled to undergo redos this year in a continuing regional trend away from shared, noisy birthing wards and toward private rooms with a more homelike feel. Part of that impetus is changing social expectations about privacy, but a larger conversation about choice and childbirth also factors in.
The local businesses focused on education, resources and even midwifery that care for families are all finding a niche with women who see themselves as informed consumers, selectively seeking out health-care providers rather than going with the closest neighborhood option. Many women in Los Altos and Mountain View, for instance, have made the drive to El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos because it is the only area hospital to partner with a midwifery practice, combining access to emergency medical care with a midwife model of childbirth preparation and delivery. Access to all of these resources depends on money and insurance. But it also requires consumers who know, in advance, what questions to ask.