Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has opened new birthing suites in its labor and delivery department designed to offer natural births with little to no medical intervention. The rooms feature elements to enhance patient comfort and the overall birth experience, providing all the amenities of a birthing center and the benefits and peace of mind of a hospital.


“These low-intervention birthing suites offer mothers a comfortable, home-like environment with the safety net of the full-service hospital just outside the room,” said Rebecca McKimmey, a certified nurse-midwife at Houston Methodist Willowbrook. “These rooms accommodate women who want to experience a natural birth without the risk of forgoing modern medicine in the event that it’s needed or wanted.”


The new birthing suites include queen-sized beds, hydrotherapy bathtubs, walk-in showers, mini refrigerators, birthing balls, aromatherapy with essential oils, and wireless music speakers. In addition to natural pain management strategies, the hospital offers nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas, as a low-dose alternative to help with pain relief and relaxation.


“We recognize that every mother has a different plan and vision for her birth experience, and we want to provide the options to meet those needs of our community,” said Sara Catalano, director of women’s services at Houston Methodist Willowbrook. “Giving birth to a child, however it may happen, is a sacred experience, and we’re simply here to support the miracle of welcoming a new life into this world.”


The rooms are a complement to the hospital’s existing childbirth services, including a robust midwifery program. The certified nurse-midwives at Houston Methodist Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates at Willowbrook are trained medical professionals who specialize in helping mothers deliver their babies safely and naturally. They provide comprehensive, holistic health care with a “high-touch, low-intervention” approach to prenatal care, births and postpartum. In this environment, expectant mothers can trust their natural birth plans will be honored and respected, with little to no unnecessary interventions.


If needed or desired, seamless physician or surgical intervention can be provided, and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is equipped and prepared if advanced newborn care is required.