The Best Places to Give Birth in America

These 8 hospitals, with their cutting-edge amenities, are making celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow, and non-celebrity moms alike feel pampered as they push.

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Choosing Where to Give Birth

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Choosing Where to Give Birth

When it comes to giving birth, the most important thing is ultimately the quality of your medical care. However, hospitals are upping the ante on their labor and delivery amenities to make even non-celebrities feel pampered—and surrounded by the best medical technology—even in the throes of labor. "Hospitals in general are putting a bigger emphasis on patient experience," says Charlotte Ipsan, chief administrative officer of Norton Women's Care in Louisville, Ky. "I really do feel that patients expect good medical care, and that's a given. The experience is a controllable variable and we're here to make sure the patient experience is as good as it can be." Here are just a few of the hospitals around the country that are setting the birthing bar high when it comes to those experiences.

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Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City

The Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City

If it's good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow, it's good enough for us. Granted, many of us can't afford an extra $1,100 a day for a deluxe room with views of Central Park (on top of our regular medical bills). But for those who do want to splurge, New York City's Mount Sinai on Fifth Avenue offers lovely private rooms and even private duty nursing for an extra fee. The hospital also offers access to a midwifery program, a newborn photo session with Gaga Baby Photos and access to massage therapy—for babies and moms! The hospital, which handles about 7,000 births a year, boasts cutting-edge technology and a Level IV NICU with nurses who are specially trained to treat the tiniest babies.

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The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern & Children's, Minneapolis

Abbott Northwestern Hospital

The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern & Children's, Minneapolis

The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis is a bright, airy $50 million facility that opened in 2013 and ushered in a wave of shiny new birthing facilities throughout the Twin Cities area. At the center, laboring moms can take advantage of integrative medicine options that range from acupressure and acupuncture to massage and guided imagery. The hospital also offers water births as long as moms meet certain criteria (and sign consent forms, of course). The waiting area is bright and open (it's called "Celebration Plaza") and even includes a kid's play area for visiting siblings and cousins. Brilliant.

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Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital, Columbia, S.C.

Palmetto Health

Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital, Columbia, S.C.

The brand new Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital in Columbia, S.C., features an on-site spa called Healing Waters—an on-site spa! We'd love that kind of access to massage therapists and aestheticians along with our obstetricians. Patients also have access to fresh, local food from the in-house chef whenever they feel like calling room service (between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.). The new campus is designed to feel like home, with open spaces called the front porch, back porch, living room, dining room and family room and details that include indigenous rocks and outdoor plantings to put an emphasis on the natural world.

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St. David's Women's Center of Texas, Austin

St. David's Women's Center of Texas

St. David's Women's Center of Texas, Austin

The St. David's Women's Center of Texas in Austin wants you to know that it "is not all things to all people; it's all things for women." Sorry, guys! But when it comes to giving birth, it's all about the mamas here. Boasting a brand new facility with state-of-the-art technology and lovely aesthetics, the hospital is the only health center in central Texas to allow nurse midwives in the delivery room. As with many hospitals today, St. David's has a family-centered approach, with mothers and healthy infants kept in the same room after delivery. The center also has a Ronald McDonald Family Room that provides care and comfort for families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

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Rose Medical Center, Denver

Rose Medical Center

Rose Medical Center, Denver

It may come as no surprise to those living in Denver that Rose Medical Center recently received a Women's Choice Award as a best hospital for obstetrics. The hospital offers in-room massages (for a fee), a doula program and is the only center in the area to support the HypnoBirthing technique to manage pain during labor. Birthing rooms feature Jacuzzi tubs, squat bars and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. After your baby is safely delivered, you can opt to recover in one of the hospital's six luxury postpartum suites with their fine linens, upgraded bathroom and even a private chef to prepare your meals.

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Norton Women's & Kosair Children's Hospital, Louisville, Ky.

Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital

Norton Women's & Kosair Children's Hospital, Louisville, Ky.

The Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky. opened in 2014 and offers plenty of amenities for expecting moms, including prenatal yoga classes and in-room spa services. For those moms who need to be hospitalized prior to giving birth, the hospital's antepartum area has a garden adjacent to the rooms to make their time there feel less like a hospital stay (which can feel like heading into a black hole) and more like a restful respite—and someplace where you can even hold a baby shower. Most moms will labor, deliver and recover in the same room, with baby right there with them, and their doctors can continuously monitor them and their babies on their smartphone. Plus, the hospital offers cutting-edge neonatal intensive care units—including a level III NICU for babies who need the highest level of medical intervention.

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The BirthPlace Santa Monica—UCLA Health, Los Angeles

UCLA Health

The BirthPlace Santa Monica—UCLA Health, Los Angeles

The BirthPlace Santa Monica, part of the UCLA Health network, knows how to celebrate new babies and their moms. The hospital's seven deluxe suites (an extra $330 per night) feature a VIP menu of food options, a personal refrigerator, two TVs and other amenities. The hospital provides a "celebration breakfast" for new dads/partners as well as a "celebration tea" for families every afternoon. You can also opt to have newborn portraits taken of your baby, and you'll take home a souvenir birth certificate as a memento of your hospital stay (along with your baby). You'll be wondering if you just had a baby or checked into a hotel!

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Valley Medical Center, UW Medicine, Renton, Wash.

Valley Medical Center

Valley Medical Center, UW Medicine, Renton, Wash.

The University of Washington Medicine's Valley Medical Center recently constructed a complete new family birthing center that prioritizes comfort. Moms get a private, suite-like room for their labor, birth and recovery—each of which has a whirlpool bath, free on-demand movies, a DVD player, wireless internet and a daybed for family members. The hospital also has a Level III NICU, plenty of options for managing pain (from massage to medication), hospitalists on site at all times and a midwifery program.

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