Swedish opens center for new parents

SEATTLE -- "It was the scariest night of my life."

Looking at Monroe resident Heather Wick's 2-month-old bundle of joy, it's hard to believe she's talking about her first night at home with baby Danny. But many new moms struggle to adjust when they bring their baby home.

"I was glad to be going home, but as soon as we got there we realized we had absolutely no idea what to do," Wick said. "Whenever he would make a noise we would jump up instantly."

To offer new parents support after they leave the hospital, Swedish Medical Center will open the Lytle Center for Pregnancy & Newborns July 31 at its First Hill campus.

"We take excellent care of our patients and then we say goodbye," said Dr. Jane Uhlir, executive director of the Pediatric Specialty Care and Clinical Process Improvement. "They get home and go, 'Oh my god, what am I doing here?' We want to provide a place for moms and babies to come back soon after delivery so we can answer their questions and make sure they're moving in the right direction."

The center will offer all parents pregnancy and postpartum checkups, lactation consultations and well-baby visits, whether their baby was born at Swedish or somewhere else.

The center will also have two psychiatrists on staff and will ask each patient to fill out a form to help doctors determine if parents might be suffering from postpartum depression.

"We take everyone's blood pressure, but we also take their psychiatric pressure," Uhlir said.

The Lytle Center also features a designated space for educational programs and support groups geared toward life with a newborn.

Uhlir said the Lytle Center is a work-in-progress and hopes the community will share their ideas with her.

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