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Baby run to new maternity ward

At 12:08 a.m. yesterday, Megan Walhelm took in her first breath, and then let out the last newborn cry the Women’s College Hospital maternity ward will ever hear.

At 12:08 a.m. yesterday, Megan Walhelm took in her first breath, and then let out the last newborn cry the Women’s College Hospital maternity ward will ever hear.

Some eight hours later, she joined a convoy of her bundled compatriots — many in incubators — as the Grenville Street ward was moved to its new home at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

“For everything there is a season,” said Dr. Jennifer Blake, who will continue as obstetrics and gynecology chief at Sunnybrook. Blake said the season that saw Women’s College as one of the main maternity centres had passed in its viability.

“Our unit here was built in the 1960s, based on thinking from the 1950s,” Blake said of the decommissioned ward.

With many women having babies at older ages, leading to more high-risk pregnancies, chances are greater than ever that infants will need intensive care, both before and after birth.

And with its switch to an ambulatory-care hospital last decade, Women’s College was no longer up to the task, Blake said.

Mothers in labour and those with high-risk pregnancies, and 25 newborn and premature babies were all part of the 49-patient move.

 
 
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