NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Sentara Norfolk General Hospital took a bigger step in prioritizing women’s health earlier this week when they cut the ribbon and welcomed patients to the new Mother/Baby unit on the 4th floor.

The redesign of the Mother/Baby unit involved expanding it from 21 beds to 34. Each room gives new mothers a private bathroom with shower, and allows more floor space for hospital beds and bassinettes. This modernization is the first major change made to the unit since it was introduced more that 50 years ago.

“We’re creating a safer and more comfortable experience for new moms and their babies,” said Sue Mitchell, director of women’s health. “The unit is divided into pods of nine rooms each and each pod has its own nurses’ station, so we can stay better connected with our patients, visually and verbally, and respond more quickly if they need us.”

This is not the first major change Sentara Norfolk General has made to the maternity unit within the past year. Last February, Sentara expanded the NICU to better accommodate premature babies and their development, and allow their families more space for privacy, rest, and healing.

According to officials, once the current expansion and modernization of the Mother/Baby unit is complete, the hospital will have invested more than $20 million in improving women’s care, and all areas of Family Maternity services, from labor and delivery to the NICU will all be located on the same floor.