BOCA RATON, FL—The proliferation of new fertility treatments, including in-vitro fertilization, and the decision by many women to delay parenthood in order to pursue professional careers has led to a phenomenon never thought possible in generations past: Women are becoming pregnant at very advanced ages—even 35 and above! Obstetricians, who were trained to treat only young women, have recognized this situation as a global dilemma. However, one particular hospital, Boca Health Center (BHC), has a promising solution: Last week, it opened a brand new geriatric maternity ward geared towards mothers over 35 years old.
Al Zimer, an obstetrician at BHC, said, “It’s about time! I’ve been lobbying for an elderly maternity ward for years. When I trained at BHC in the 1970s, the average age for a pregnant woman was 25, now it’s 38! These old moms need different care than young ones—it’s just common sense.”
Dr. Zimer is also the proud director of the nation’s first geriatric obstetrics fellowship program for obstetricians who want to specialize in the care of these grey-haired moms. “Most OBs,” said Zimer, “are proficient in treating young, fertile women; they have no clue how to treat these old geezers.”
So far the new Geriatric Maternity ward has received rave reviews. The whole experience is designed to cater to the needs of both baby and mommy. Examples of the amenities and innovations include:
1. Rooms are stocked with Huggies for baby & Depends for mommy
2. Closets are filled with formula for baby & Ensure for mommy
3. Baby gets injected with Hepatitis B vaccine & mommy with Botox for wrinkles
4. Baby is fed q3hrs & mommy is fed dinner at 3pm
5. Baby is fitted with an ankle bracelet that alarms if taken off the unit & mommy with a Life Alert bracelet that alarms if she falls and can’t get up
6. Baby is transported via stroller & mom via wheelchair or walker
7. Since neither likely have any teeth, baby sucks milk from nipple & mom is given free dentures
8. At night for a peaceful rest, baby goes to the nursery, and mom to a nursing home
9. At time of delivery, baby immediately undergoes APGAR testing & mom a Mini-Mental State Exam
Another bonus of the ward is that the staff helps old moms get longer maternity leave from their jobs. Gerry Syke, a case manager on the new ward, said, “I’m so good at getting bosses to extend maternity leave indefinitely for these women. I mean, these old fogeys are so close to retirement anyway—why even return to work?
“After all,” she added, “they should probably spend their limited time remaining on Earth with their babies.”