Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center unveils new birthing center

Data pix.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A ribbon cutting signaled the birth of a new facility at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The hospital in Winston-Salem has always helped with high risk births, but it hasn't helped mothers expecting normal births since the 1970s.

That is all changing with the opening of the Birth Center and the Dale and Karen Sisel Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"To have it all under one facility really is a benefit to our department of obstetrics and gynecology," said Dr. Phillip Heine, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The Birth Center is designed with privacy and comfort in mind.

There is an elevator to bring expecting mothers up the 11 floors directly to the birthing center. It will have 30 private rooms with plenty of natural light as well as 17 delivery rooms designed to make births as comfortable as possible.

"We put our hearts into this dynamic, comfortable experience for moms, babies and their families," said Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

The new neonatal intensive care unit bears the name of Karen Sisel and her late husband Dale. Karen donated $5 million to help bring the new NICU to fruition.

In the new NICU, when complications arise, mothers won't be separated from their babies.

Like the Birth Center, the NICU is also designed with privacy in mind.

"We used to have four to six babies in one room with their families," Dr. Freischlag said. "And so if one baby was having trouble, then the other parents would see that. So now it's private."

The facility is expected to be open at the end of July.

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