Maternity care in Charleston, SC

You want your delivery to be safe and memorable. At Trident Health System, we offer services to help women through their pregnancies, from prenatal care to postpartum support.

Our network has highly skilled obstetric gynecologists (OB/GYNs) and support staff on-call who are prepared to care for your delivery needs. Additionally, our Summerville Medical Center (SMC) features specialized maternity care services for mothers and their newborns.

For more information about our maternity care services, call (843) 847-3463.

Full-service labor and delivery care

At Summerville Medical Center, we offer comprehensive women's care from the moment you discover you're pregnant until after you return home with your little one. Some features of our maternity unit include:

  • Experienced obstetric specialists and advanced technology
  • Two-story tower with 30 private postpartum rooms, 12 labor and delivery rooms and an on-site 16-bed Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Beautiful “home-like” birthing suites that provide new families a welcoming space to bond with their baby
  • 55” HD televisions and MyCare boards that display important patient information and streaming entertainment options on one TV
  • Wireless fetal monitoring that allows mom to be comfortable and mobile during laboring, including taking a shower, while still being able to monitor how her baby is doing
  • Smartphones giving instant access to patient vitals and other information that allows our staff to interface immediately to provide our patients with the best care
  • Cesarean birth (C-section) suite
  • New and expecting mom special VIP parking
  • HUGS Baby Safety Program that protects babies during their hospital stay with unique tamper-proof tags and alarm system
  • Obstetric emergency room (ER) if emergency care is needed during your pregnancy

Preparing for delivery

A lot goes into getting ready to have a baby. From helping you create a birth plan to childbirth prep classes to additional care for high-risk pregnancies, our specialists give you the education and medical attention needed to make you feel ready for parenthood.

Creating a birth plan

Because labor involves so many variables, you can't predict what will happen. By creating a birth plan, you can decide what's most important to you in the birth of your baby.

A birth plan isn't a binding agreement; it is merely a guideline. Your doctor or healthcare provider may know, from having seen you throughout the pregnancy, what you do and don't want. But, if you go into labor with an on-call doctor, a well-thought-out birth plan can help you communicate your goals and wishes.

Things to consider when making your birth plan include:

  • How do you want to handle pain relief?
  • Who do you want by your side during delivery and visiting you after?
  • Are you planning to breastfeed?

Birth plans usually include your wishes during normal labor and delivery, your treatment expectations and what you want to happen in the case of unexpected events or complications. You should review this birth plan with your partner or support system periodically to ensure your plan or delivery is on track.

Pre-register for delivery

Childbirth and newborn education classes

Our class offerings may be impacted by COVID-19. Please call (843) 847-3463 for current class status.

Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a woman experiences in her lifetime. But it may also be accompanied by a little anxiety about the emotional and physical journey that lies ahead. That's why we're here for you every step of the way.

We offer different classes to help prepare you and your family for the miracle of childbirth and the days that follow, including:

  • Childbirth Awareness Series: This class helps you understand the stages of labor, relaxation techniques, and other coping skills.
  • Childbirth Awareness One Day: This is a condensed version of the three-week Childbirth Awareness series.
  • The Lactation Club for Moms: This is a free support group led by Certified Lactation Consultants. Free weight checks are provided.
  • Moving into Motherhood support group: Facilitated by Postpartum Charleston, this group allows you to connect with other expecting moms and share experiences. Call (843) 410-3585 or email Postpartum Charleston for more information.
  • Newborn Care: This class provides expectant and new parents with essential information on all aspects of caring for a newborn baby. It includes tips on feeding, bathing, illness prevention, safety and parenting skills.
  • Breastfeeding Preparedness Class: This class offers access to a certified lactation consultant who helps you learn more about breastfeeding.

High-risk pregnancy services

A high-risk pregnancy is can be caused by many factors, such as being pregnant with multiples, existing medical conditions or being 35 years old and older.

If your pregnancy is deemed high risk, our perinatologists are prepared to help you navigate each trimester. Through the Summerville Maternal Fetal Medicine Center, we offer services that include prenatal testing and genetic counseling.

It's time to meet your baby!

Once a baby is on his or her way, our childbirth specialists will make sure you're comfortable in one of our labor and delivery suites while closely monitoring both you and your baby.

Specialized labor and delivery rooms

Our nine birthing suites provide all the amenities to make your birthing experience as comfortable as possible. These suites offer tiled sinks with waterfall faucets, a shower or whirlpool tub and hardwood floors.

a large hospital room with a bed, a sofa, and a large, bright window

Labor and delivery room virtual tour

You will typically stay in her birthing suite throughout the labor and delivery process and spend an hour or two there afterward with your newborn. Our birthing suites are equipped with overhead lighting systems that can be softened. This also helps promote skin-to-skin bonding between mother and newborn.

Our department also has two operating rooms for labor and delivery. These new surgical and birthing suites also offer specialized blankets, which keep newborns content while being checked and cared for by our medical team.

OB/GYN hospitalist program

Trident Health's OB/GYN Hospitalist Program offers 24/7 obstetrics and gynecology coverage at SMC. These hospital-based doctors focus on providing care to admitted patients and those arriving in labor and delivery.

Besides board certification for OB/GYN, our hospitalists are required to have additional specialized training and maintain high levels of clinical performance and professional standards. They are trained in different delivery techniques and can respond to any emergency care.

Our specialists care for you in your doctor's absence and make sure a complete report goes to your doctor about everything in the hospital. They are prepared to provide optimal medical care and answer any questions you or your family may have.

If necessary, hospitalists can expedite you and your newborn to advanced care by admitting you to our obstetric ER and your baby to our onsite NICU. They can easily create connections and coordinate with home health care providers, skilled nursing, specialized rehabilitation and other services as needed.

Everyone, including your nurses, physicians, and support staff, has your safety and your baby's health as their most important priority.

Critical neonatal care for newborns

Should your baby require extra attention after birth, SMC has a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as designated by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control that provides around-the-clock critical care. Our NICU is staffed by in-house neonatologists, specialists with special training to evaluate and treat your newborn's medical problem.

Our NICU services include:

  • Board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Sub-Board Neonatal Medicine
  • Neonatal nurses with specialized training in complex and critical newborn care
  • Training for mothers, and their partners in skin-to-skin holding method to help with bonding, stabilizing your newborn and helping baby get better faster

Postpartum care for mom and baby

Once you've delivered your baby, our maternity services shift to helping you recover from childbirth and get to know your little one. From learning how to feed your baby to helping with diaper changes, you can count on our labor and delivery specialists to be by your side.

Other postpartum aspects we support include:

  • Skin-to-skin bonding time, promoted both right after delivery and during your time with us after birth
  • Rooming in, which allows the newborn’s crib to remain right beside the mother’s bed
  • Breastfeeding assistance, with help from lactation consultants
  • Helpful newborn care information, such as when to contact your doctor if your baby is sick, tips for safe sleeping and details on shaken baby syndrome

Compassionate support for postpartum conditions

Postpartum depression (PPD), also known as the "baby blues," is a serious illness that impacts the entire family. Without effective intervention, it can cause great suffering and serious damage. In rare incidences, it can lead to suicide or murder. However, in most cases, with proper treatment and support, a woman and her family can fully recover from PPD.

About 80 percent of all women who deliver a baby will develop a mild case of PPD. This can be identified through the following symptoms and behaviors:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disconnected feelings from your baby
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
  • May have periods of crying
  • Nervousness
  • Obsession
  • Sadness
  • Thoughts of inadequacy
  • Thoughts of suicide

Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a more severe condition and occurs in one to two women out of every 1,000 births. This can be identified through the following symptoms and behaviors:

  • Delusions
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Abrupt mood changes

How to help mothers with PPD

It is vital for spouses, partners, friends and family to be on alert for PPD symptoms. Help is available through your family physician, the OB/GYN who delivered your baby or the baby’s pediatrician. Reach out and ask for assistance.

Postpartum exercise

After getting the appropriate rest for your birthing experience, exercise is necessary for improving healing and mobility recovery.

For the first few weeks, it is important to rest and understand it may take your body several weeks to recover from the changes of pregnancy. Check with your healthcare provider for recommendations about when you can begin a more rigorous exercise.

Exercise after vaginal birth

The following exercises can be done as soon as desired following vaginal birth:

  • Kegels
  • Abdominal strengthening
  • Pelvic tilt
  • Abdominal breathing
  • Ankle circles
  • Leg sliding
  • Arm and upper back stretch

After the first week, you may continue to perform the exercises listed above and add more abdominal exercises, if your strength allows you to. You may also add straight curl-ups and diagonal sit-ups to your exercise routine.

Exercise after cesarean birth

Your healthcare provider will review with you the value of exercises, deep breathing and good body mechanics for the best recovery after your cesarean birth (C-section). Exercises are key to successful rehabilitation. Do not start any exercise program unless advised by your doctor.

Following a C-section, it is necessary to get up and walk within the first 12 to 18 hours—even if you need assistance—to improve digestion, decrease muscle stiffness and prevent blood clots. After a cesarean birth, you may find yourself leaning forward to protect your incision. It is crucial to support your incision as you walk. Exercise and activity will help it to heal by increasing circulation.