For meeting a set of rigorous best practices for maternity care, University of Virginia Medical Center, UVA Women’s Services and UVA Children’s have been named to Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals 2020 list.

“The facilities cited by Newsweek as Best Maternity Hospitals 2020 are an elite group demonstrating excellence in maternity care,” the publication wrote in an introduction to the list.

“This honor reflects the dedication of the physicians, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurses and numerous staff in Women’s and Children’s Services to providing excellent, evidence-based and compassionate care for moms and babies,” said James E. (Jef) Ferguson, MD, MBA, chairman of UVA’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Hospitals named to the list had to meet standards developed by an expert panel together with The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit that monitors the quality and safety of hospitals. 

Those standards included low rates of:

  • Early elective deliveries, defined as babies delivered before the 39th week for any reason except to protect the health of the mother or baby. Early elective deliveries carry health risks for both new mothers and babies.
  • Cesarean deliveries for first-time mothers delivering a single baby at full term in the head-down position. Cesarean sections increase the risk of complications for both mothers and babies.
  • Episiotomies, or incisions made in the birth canal during a delivery. Episiotomies have been linked to complications for mothers, including pelvic floor disorders, infections and loss or bowel or bladder control.

Hospitals must also meet standards for protecting the health of mothers and babies, including:

  • Testing babies for high levels of bilirubin, a substance found in bile that can signal a baby is at risk for disabilities.
  • Using techniques to prevent blood clots in new mothers who deliver babies via Cesarean section. Mothers are sometimes at risk for blood clots in their lungs following a Cesarean delivery.

“Every day, our team is committed to meeting the highest standards for providing quality care for new moms and their babies,” said Christian Chisholm, MD, medical director of labor and delivery at UVA. “It is great to see the entire team recognized for their hard work to serve our patients.”

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