Amenities include a four-poster king sized bed, remote controlled sound system with in-wall speakers, 110-gallon Jacuzzi tub, access to the onsite health club, walnut vanity, polished wood floors, and of course a private toilet with bidet. It sounds like the sort of pampering you'd get at a 5-star hotel … except maybe for the curious detail that the oversized shower includes a squatting bar. As it turns out, all these luxuries and more are part of the growing trend of deluxe maternity suites.
If you're willing to pay the cost, that is. Comfort doesn't come for free, but as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center explains, "… these suites provide the special touches that enhance the postpartum experience, making it more pleasant and memorable for the new mother and her family."
The question is, are these pleasantries worth $1,000 or more per day?
Maternity suites offer everything from stocked kitchenettes to personal doulas, and high profile patients like Jessica Simpson and Beyonce are shining the spotlight on this modern option for childbirth. Deluxe rooms come with gourmet food services, spa-style robes, flat screen TVs, WiFi, and access to a concierge. Some places even arrange for in-room salon services, in case you want to take a break from labor with a quick trim and mani-pedi.
A spokesperson for St. Joseph's in Tampa Bay lauded the comfort and technology available in their birthing suites:
The first thing you are going to notice how large the room, how pleasing to the eye. We've hidden all the important emergency equipment such as oxygen and suction. If the patient calls for pain medicine, the pain text message would be routed to the nursing phone. If the patient would like water or use the restroom, it would send a message to the scrub tech's telephone.
Of course, all these fancy options come with a pricetag that isn't covered by insurance. New York's Lenox Hill's private rooms start at $850, and a three-room two-bath suite at Cedars costs $4,030 per day.
Honestly, it's a little hard for me to imagine making good use of those expensive luxury accommodations, since my personal childbirth experiences involved lying flat on my back while undergoing surgery. I'm not entirely certain most laboring mothers will fully appreciate the "spa-style robe" or on-call manicurist, but to each their own. If you can afford it, why not enjoy an upscale room while still feeling secure in your preferred hospital environment?
(Although I have to say, it bugs me that the ability to call for pain medication or use the bathroom is touted as a luxury feature.)
The only thing that gives me hesitation about this fancy maternity trend is the way those "special touches" are described as being so integral to the birthing experience. As most of us with children know, everything that seemed SO important about the details of birth paled greatly in comparison to the actual purpose of the birth. I wonder how many moms end up sitting in their beautifully decorated rooms, looking down at the babe in their arms -- and realizing that they didn't need to pay an extra dime to have everything they ever wanted.
What do you think about these luxury maternity suites? Would you book one if you could afford it?
Image via Puget Sound Birthing Center