The Family Life Center at St. Francis Medical Center
At St. Francis Medical Center, we offer the most comprehensive maternity and newborn services in southeast Los Angeles County. That’s why more than 5,000 families choose to have their babies here every year. In addition to expert prenatal, childbirth and postpartum care, we also offer special support services to give your baby the best start in life.
Highlights of our Program
- Comprehensive care
- St. Francis has all the tests, support and services you need for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. Our services include a high-risk pregnancy program, with dedicated experts for moms-to-be and babies who need a little extra care. We also can refer you to prenatal classes in English and Spanish so you know what to expect when it is time to deliver your baby.
- Round-the-clock care
- Our physicians, anesthesiologists and specialized nurses are available 24/7 to provide expert care for you and your baby. If you go into labor in the middle of the night or your newborn needs extra special care in our Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), we are ready to provide all the services you need.
- Recognized Baby-Friendly hospital
- Our commitment to breast-feeding support for new moms has earned us the prestigious Baby-Friendly Hospital designation from Baby-Friendly USA. Baby-Friendly is an organization dedicated to promoting breast-feeding. We offer special services and support, including dedicated breast-feeding (lactation) consultants, to assist you in breast-feeding your baby. Breast-feeding helps you build a strong family bond and sets the foundation for a healthy childhood for your baby.
- One-on-one support
- Before your arrival and throughout your stay, we offer you and your partner a wealth of information and support on the best ways to care for your baby. If you live in Los Angeles County and deliver your baby at St. Francis, you may also be eligible to receive free, one-on-one help from a parent coach through our Welcome Baby program.
- Focus on family
- Our family focus is part of what makes St. Francis unique. Throughout your stay, we make every effort to keep your baby at your side. During labor and delivery, you receive care, comfort and support in a private room. We also deliver most of the tests and care you and your baby need after birth right in the comfort of your room, so you do not need to move anywhere.
- Access to care, regardless of ability to pay
- All moms-to-be are welcome at St. Francis, even if you do not have insurance. We can help you find out if you are eligible for government-funded insurance programs, such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh and help connect you with helpful local services and resources. Read more about our Health Benefits Resource Center.
- Newly renovated space
- Our newly renovated center combines the comforts of home with all the advantages of a modern medical center. The Family Life Center features a nature-inspired design, creating a calm, healing atmosphere with special amenities including upgraded private patient rooms. Take a virtual tour of the Family Life Center.
Maternity and Newborn Care
As part of our comprehensive approach to care, St. Francis offers a broad range of services to assure you and your baby’s health and safety.
- Complete obstetrical care
- Starting the moment you arrive at the Family Life Center, our sole focus is on you and your baby. We start with an examination as soon as you arrive and make sure you don’t have to wait for a bed if you’re in labor. Our team of dedicated physicians, nurses and specialists uses a compassionate approach to help ease your anxieties so that you can have a positive childbirth experience. Find out more about obstetrics at St. Francis.
- Specialized prenatal care for high-risk pregnancies
- This program cares for women with one or more medical conditions that could affect their health or the health of their unborn baby. Physicians from all over southeast Los Angeles County trust our program to protect their high-risk patients. Read more about our high-risk pregnancy program.
- Level II NICU
- If your baby is born early (prematurely) or experiences problems shortly after birth, he or she has immediate access to lifesaving treatments in our Level II NICU. Here your baby receives care from a team of physicians (neonatologists), nurses and therapists who specialize in meeting the unique needs of sick newborns. Learn more about our Level II NICU.
Childbirth Services at St. Francis Medical Center
Learning that you are expecting a baby is a joyous time. Our comprehensive obstetrics program, located close to home in southeast Los Angeles County, is here to meet your every need. At St. Francis, our obstetrics specialists offer complete obstetrical care for expectant and new mothers. In fact, we deliver more than 5,000 babies every year, ensuring that you and your family receive the expert care you need when welcoming a new baby into your home.
We provide obstetric services in our newly renovated Family Life Center. Our new space offers a modern, soothing atmosphere with special amenities, including upgraded patient rooms and hallways, to help you feel relaxed and welcome throughout your stay. Learn more about our Family Life Center.
Highlights of our program
- Round-the-clock care for labor and delivery
- Our obstetricians, anesthesiologists and specialized nurses are available 24/7 to care for you and your baby. Even if you go into labor in the middle of the night, we are here to provide you with superior care.
- Comfortable, private labor, delivery, recovery rooms (LDRs)
- We are one of few hospitals in the community that offers all private LDRs to provide a personalized experience for you, your baby and your partner. Our private rooms allow your family to have privacy throughout your entire stay, giving you the chance to rest more comfortably and to bond with your newborn. Being near you is a source of comfort to your baby and can help him or her settle into a steady routine of feeding and sleeping.
- Comprehensive breast-feeding support
- Our commitment to providing expert breast-feeding (lactation) support to new mothers and infants has earned us a designation as a baby-friendly center from Baby-Friendly USA. Our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and International Board Certified Lactation Educators listen to your concerns about breast-feeding and help you decide what’s best for your family. Whether you breast-feed or bottle-feed, we give you information, encouragement and support to help you meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
- Expertise in high-risk pregnancy
- If you have complications in your pregnancy, our obstetricians provide individualized services you and your baby need. Our obstetricians, nurses and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) specialists are here to provide you and your baby with attentive, expert care throughout your childbirth experience and postpartum period. Learn more about high-risk pregnancy and our Level II NICU.
- Quiet time
- Members of your extended family and friends are welcome to visit you and your new baby except during quiet time (2 PM – 4 PM). Quiet time is a relaxing and peaceful time for you to take a nap or breastfeed. During quiet time, we dim the lights on the maternity ward and try to limit any visitors or disruptions, including from the hospital staff. Your partner is, of course, welcome to stay.
- Access to care, regardless of ability to pay
- All moms-to-be are welcome at St. Francis. You will receive compassionate and personalized obstetric care and support services for your baby even if you don’t have insurance. We can help you find out if you’re eligible for government-funded insurance programs, such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh, or community resources designed to help ease your transition to motherhood. Read more about our Health Benefits Resource Center.
Labor and Delivery: What to Expect
When you come to St. Francis for prenatal, childbirth and postpartum care, our goal is to ease any anxiety you’re feeling so you can focus on your taking care of yourself and your baby’s needs. We offer:
- Prenatal class referrals
- Prenatal classes help you and your partner learn more about childbirth. We can refer you to classes that cover a broad range of topics, such as the signs of labor and ways to stay comfortable during childbirth. Call us at 310.900.4710 to learn more or for a referral to an upcoming class.
- Maternity tours
- Touring the Family Life Center gives you and your partner an opportunity to see where you will be having your baby. We also give you important tips, such as learning how to preregister, so your arrival at the hospital when you are in labor is smooth and stress-free. Learn more about first steps. To schedule a tour, call us at 310.900.5002.
- Immediate help when you are in labor
- If you think you are in labor, come directly to the Family Life Center. In our specialized triage area, we will immediately examine you and move you to a patient room, if you are in labor. Find out more about arriving to deliver your baby.
- Bonding with your baby
- After having your baby, we help you and your little one start bonding right away. Bonding includes activities such as skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and looking at and talking to your baby. These activities ease your baby’s transition to living outside of the womb. If you are nervous or unsure of what to do, our nurses are always available to help you and answer your questions.
- Recovering in a private room
- Our private rooms allow your family to have privacy throughout your entire stay. A few hours after giving birth, we move you to a private room on our maternity ward. Here, you and your partner stay with your baby until it is time to go home. During this time, we deliver all the care and support you and your baby need, including a pediatric exam for your baby, from the comfort of your room. Find out more about giving birth.
- Preparing you to go home
- Before going home, our nurses provide you with the information you need to take care of your baby. We help you learn about follow-up care for your baby and who to call if you have questions. Find out more about going home.
- Ongoing postpartum support
- If you live in Los Angeles County and deliver your baby at St. Francis, you may be eligible to receive free, one-on-one help from a parent coach during your baby’s first 9 months through our Welcome Baby program. Parent coaches visit you at home and provide personalized support that may include:
- Providing help with breast-feeding
- Staying up-to-date with your baby’s well visits
- Ensuring a safe environment for your baby
The Level II NICU at St. Francis Medical Center
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a special nursery where we care for newborns who are born early (prematurely) or experience complications shortly after birth. Having a baby in the NICU can be scary, but when you come to St. Francis, you are placing your baby in expert hands.
St. Francis is home to one of the few Level II NICUs in southeast Los Angeles County. We offer a large team of specialists dedicated to caring for sick newborns. We provide advanced treatments that are not widely available in other local hospitals, including specialized treatments for babies who did not get enough oxygen during birth.
Highlights of our program
- Physicians who specialize in meeting the unique needs of sick newborns, called neonatologists, guide every step of your baby’s care. Our team of neonatologists offers a depth of expertise that is not widely available. The level of expertise available at St. Francis is just one of the reasons that physicians from other area hospitals trust our NICU to care for their sick babies.
- Immediate services
- We can diagnose many medical problems, including lung or heart conditions, well before you go into labor. This information helps us plan for any immediate medical needs your baby may have. Our neonatologists are available to wait at your bedside during delivery when necessary so we can start caring for your baby the moment he or she is born.
- Baby-centered care
- Our approach helps your little one receive care in an environment designed to meet the unique needs of our most fragile patients. Using special technology, we monitor your baby’s breathing, nutrition and body temperature at all times. We keep the NICU dark and quiet when necessary to help your baby relax and promote healing.
- A focus on family
- With the exception of nursing shift changes (6:30 AM to 7:30 AM and 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM), you and your partner are welcome to visit your baby any time. Our team helps you get to know your baby through bonding activities such as skin-to-skin contact and breast-feeding whenever possible.
- Advanced treatments
- Even if childbirth does not go as planned, we offer advanced treatments to protect your baby from complications. For example, if your baby does not get enough oxygen during birth, cooling therapy can help protect and preserve brain functioning. Many babies who undergo cooling go on to live perfectly normal lives.
- Coordinated approach
- We can diagnose many medical problems, including lung or heart conditions, well before you go into labor. This information helps us coordinate with other Family Life Center programs, including obstetrics and our high-risk pregnancy program, to plan for your baby’s arrival in the NICU. Our coordinated approach connects your baby with lifesaving care as quickly as possible. Learn more about our obstetrics and high-risk pregnancy programs.
- We care as much about your family’s peace of mind as we do your baby’s well-being. Our neonatologists sit with you to discuss your baby’s care, taking as much time as you need to answer questions and help you make important care decisions. You may also take comfort in speaking with one of our chaplains. Chaplains offer guidance and prayers to families of all faiths. Find out more about pastoral and spiritual care services.
Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Team
Our team approach helps your baby receive the best possible care. We meet on a daily basis during our medical rounds to examine your baby and discuss treatment progress. Rounds also provide us with an opportunity to check in with you and your family about your little one’s care. We welcome your thoughts and are always happy to answer any questions you may have.
Our NICU team includes:
- Neonatal nurses trained in the unique needs of sick and premature newborns
- Neonatal Respiratory therapists
- Patient safety experts
Our extended team includes additional pediatric specialists who deliver expert care for specific medical conditions and complications. Every week, we meet with our specialists to discuss your baby’s progress and plan the next steps of care.
Pediatric subspecialists we commonly work with include:
- Cardiologists from our Heart Center
- Physical and occupational therapists (rehabilitation services)
Reasons Your Baby May Need to Stay in the NICU
Our NICU delivers lifesaving care to newborns having difficulty breathing, feeding and adapting to life outside the womb. We have a depth of experience from treating more than 700 babies a year. This allows our team to provide comprehensive, compassionate and expert care for newborns who experience complications after birth.
Additional reasons your baby may need to come to the NICU include:
- Prematurity: Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy
- Low birth weight: Babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces
- Infections: Including brain infections (meningitis) and lung infections (pneumonia)
- Blood diseases such as jaundice
- Heart conditions
- Difficulty maintaining body heat
On rare occasions, it may be necessary to transfer your baby to a NICU at a different hospital. If your baby needs surgery or advanced breathing support (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO), we work closely with our NICU partners from nearby hospitals to coordinate your baby’s safe transport and treatment.
St. Francis Medical Center Maternal-Fetal Medicine Services
Every woman hopes for a healthy pregnancy, but sometimes problems do occur. However, with specialized care and monitoring, many women with high-risk pregnancies go on to deliver healthy babies. St. Francis is one of few hospitals in southeast Los Angeles County with a dedicated high-risk pregnancy program. Our experience from treating 5,000 new patients every year helps you and your baby get the best possible care.
Highlights of Our Program
- St. Francis has been caring for moms-to-be with high-risk pregnancies for more than 20 years. Our team includes perinatologists, obstetricians who specialize in diagnosing and caring for women with high-risk pregnancies. This depth of expertise helps us detect problems in their earliest phases so we can protect you and your baby from complications.
- Early detection of medical problems
- Specialized care for high-risk pregnancies includes additional prenatal care visits and screening tests to catch problems in their earliest stages. Doing so helps us plan a safe delivery for nearly any diagnosis.
- Trusted community partner
- Nearly 100 area clinics call on St. Francis when they have a mom-to-be with a potentially high-risk pregnancy. We examine new patients and provide recommendations as quickly as possible.
- Round-the-clock access
- Whether you start experiencing unexpected symptoms between appointments or your obstetrician needs to talk to us after you go into labor, our team is always available by phone any time of the day or night.
- Coordinated care
- We partner with other St. Francis physicians whenever necessary to help you have a seamless experience. For some moms-to-be, this coordination includes working with neurologists to treat seizures or with infectious disease experts to provide special care if you are HIV-positive. We are also in regular contact with physicians in our obstetrics department and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to assure a safe childbirth experience for you and your baby. Learn more about obstetrics and our Level II NICU.
- Comprehensive prenatal diagnosis service
- St. Francis is one of few programs in the community to earn the California Prenatal Screening Program (PNS) designation. This designation demonstrates our expertise in delivering comprehensive testing for genetic conditions such as Down syndrome and neural tube defects. We also connect you with genetic counselors who help you understand the test results and what they mean for your baby.
Prenatal Screening and Fetal Monitoring for High-Risk Pregnancies
Learning that you have a high-risk pregnancy can be shocking, but it does not mean something bad will happen to you or your baby. Screening and monitoring tests help us know more about potential problems so we can protect you and your baby from complications.
We offer a broad range of sophisticated tests that show us how your baby is developing, including:
- During this test, we use a needle to take a small sample of the amniotic fluid in your belly that is protecting your baby. The fluid contains cells and chemicals from your baby that can help us confirm whether your baby’s lungs are healthy or if he or she has certain genetic conditions such as Down syndrome.
- Fetal monitoring
- We perform these tests toward the end of your pregnancy to see whether your baby is mature enough to be delivered. There are many types of monitoring tests, including non-stress tests, which measure your baby’s movement and heartbeat.
- 3-D and 4-D ultrasound
- These tests use sound waves and advanced technology to create 3-D and 4-D images of your baby. Unlike traditional ultrasounds, 3-D and 4-D tests show us the entire surface of an area such as your baby’s face. We use these tests to help us learn more about potential birth defects like a cleft lip.
- Nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound
- We use this imaging test to examine whether fluid is collecting at the back of your baby’s neck. Abnormal fluid levels in this area can be a sign of Down syndrome.
- Fetal echocardiogram (echo)
- This test uses sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the health of your baby’s heart. We use echos to examine the heart’s structures and determine whether it is pumping hard enough to send blood to the rest of the body.
- Advanced genetic testing
- We use simple blood tests along with amniocentesis and NT ultrasound tests at certain points in your pregnancy to determine your baby’s risk for genetic conditions.
Conditions that Lead to High-Risk Pregnancies
A high-risk pregnancy happens when you have one or more conditions that put you or your baby at a higher-than-normal risk for health problems.
These conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Reproductive health issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility, which can make it difficult for some moms-to-be to stay pregnant
- Being overweight (obese)
- Being a young (teen) or older (age 35 or older) mom
- Using alcohol, tobacco or street drugs during pregnancy
- Multiple gestation, a pregnancy with more than one baby, such as twins or triplets
Contact us at (310) 900-7380 to learn more about the childbirth services we offer or to make an appointment.
If you think you are in labor, you can contact the Family Life Center directly at (310) 900-2050.
You can also come directly to the Family Life Center any time of the day or night. If you arrive after 8 PM, ring the doorbell located next to the double doors on the right so we can let you in and begin the care you need.
The Family Life Center
St. Francis Medical Center
3630 East Imperial Highway
Lynwood, CA 90262