When you hear stories about Piedmont Hospital you likely hear about the nurses. This hospital located just north of downtown Atlanta, in the Buckhead neighborhood, has a reputation for excellent nursing care. This reputation has been strong for the past 11 years that I have worked with families birthing there.
General Hospital Information
Piedmont is easy to access from most highways in Atlanta and once there, getting to and from Labor and Delivery is quite easy. The best place to park is the North Deck. You can self-park or use the valet service that is available during the daytime hours. Walking to your car at night feels quite safe and the parking deck is well lit. Just outside the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital you will find a recently renovated waiting area for excited family and friends. There are many seating options, a small children’s play area and televisions. I have rarely seen the lobby so crowded that you couldn’t find a comfortable place to sit.
The food options in and around Piedmont are some of the best in Atlanta. At the hospital there is a traditional hospital cafeteria which is decent, but for a tastier option there is an Au Bon Pain. The Au Bon Pain is a restaurant that serves made to order sandwiches and salads along with amazing coffee and tempting pastries. One of the best things about Au Bon Pain is that it is open 24 hours a day! This is so wonderful if you give birth in the middle of the night and need some good food. It is a favorite of mine and all of the doulas that I know. INSIDER TIP: Skip the coffee that is in available on the labor and delivery unit. The coffee at Au Bon Pain is worth the trip to the basement location.
If you would prefer to venture out, there are many restaurants within walking distance of the hospital including Chik-fil-A, Jimmy Johns and Gusto’s. Within a one mile radius you can find many more options that are great for picking up and bringing back to the hospital.
Unlike other Atlanta area hospitals, there is not a triage room that is used on a regular basis. This means that when you arrive in labor or for a scheduled induction, you will be assigned a room immediately. I have attended nearly 100 births at Piedmont Hospital and have never seen my client have to wait for a room. This is very usual for Atlanta hospitals. Most of the hospitals either require families to wait in a public waiting area or go through a triage process before moving to a labor and delivery room.
The labor and delivery room haven’t been updated in a while and to some might feel outdated. I personally feel like they are fine. You have full control over the room temperature and lighting. Each room has a private bathroom with either a tub/shower combination (the majority) or a shower (just a few). Some of the rooms have windows to the outside, but some do not. INSIDER TIP: You can request a room with a window and/or a tub. If they have those rooms available you they will give them to you.
Besides the hospital bed, most rooms have either a recliner or small couch. Each of these can be transformed into a bed-like arrangement and bedding can be provided. Many of the room also have a wooden rocking chair and a metal stool. Birth balls and peanut balls are available in several of the rooms. If your room doesn’t have one of these you can always request more. There are plenty of towel, washcloths and extra gowns should you need them in labor, but sometimes a shortage of extra pillows. I always suggest that couples bring extra pillows for comfort and to help with positioning.
The room that you transfer to after the baby arrives is called the postpartum room. The rooms are easy to access from the main lobby area and are just down the hall from labor and delivery. This room is much smaller than the labor and delivery room. Each room barely fits a hospital bed, a recliner or small sofa and one other chair. Nursing support on the postpartum wing is good, but they don’t get raving reviews like the nursing support at labor and delivery.
If you are interested in more space and planning on having a lot of visitors, there is another option for your postpartum stay. The Waters Pavilion is available for postpartum families if there are rooms available when you are ready to transfer. The rooms are actually two-room suites. One room has the hospital bed with a small sitting area. The other room has a couch that turns into a full size bed. The cost of each night’s stay is $680 (not covered by insurance).
I have supported clients birthing at all of the metro Atlanta area hospital and it is my opinion that the labor and delivery nurses at Piedmont Atlanta are my favorite by far. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t experiences challenges with the nursing care, but these challenges are few and far between. I think the Piedmont labor and delivery nurses are competent and caring. They don’t seem to be rushed and they listen to their patients. Recently there has been an influx of new nurses, but many of the nurses have been there for years. I love arriving at Piedmont and seeing familiar smiling faces in the nursing station.
Most families that give birth at Piedmont use a OB/GYN for their care. There are five OB/GYN practices that have hospital privileges at Piedmont Atlanta and each group has around 5-7 doctors in the practices. There are no midwives that are available at Piedmont unless you have health insurance with Kaiser. The OB/GYN practices are fairly similar in regards to how they care for their patients.
My thoughts and Insider information
The families that give birth at Piedmont are usually choosing to use epidurals for pain management and the rate of induction is quite high. Because of this, the rate of natural/low intervention birth is quite low. Many couples are arriving at Piedmont for a scheduled induction and not arriving in labor. This results in an environment where non-pharmacological pain management options aren’t commonly practiced. Sometimes families that are interested in things like intermittent monitoring, showers, tubs and position changes are faced with resistance or just unfamiliarity. Several times I have supported families that were interested in these options and the nurses were unsure about how to support these choices. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that you can’t have a low/no intervention birth at Piedmont, but it certainly isn’t common. If having a natural birth is highly important to you, Piedmont might not be the best option.
If a comfortable, safe and quiet birthing facility is important to you then I would consider Piedmont Atlanta. The size of the labor and delivery unit along with the good nursing support makes this hospital one of my favorites. The hospital never feels run down, unsafe, disorganized, shabby or mismanaged. I also don’t feel like the staff is trying to rush clients through labor and delivery. This is a good option for birthing families and the 24 hour coffee and pastries aren’t to be missed!