Maternity Care at Piedmont Atlanta

From the day you learn that your family is growing to the moment you leave for home with your new baby, our expert physicians and compassionate team work collaboratively to provide you with one-of-a-kind care that fits you and makes your birthing experience comfortable and hassle-free. With our conveniently located facility and our supportive team dedicated to you, Piedmont Atlanta is committed to ensuring this momentous occasion will be unforgettable and uniquely yours!

Q&A: Having a Baby at Piedmont

What is Piedmont’s approach to supporting women in labor?

During labor, our team of doctors, nurses, and women in our care work together to tailor how we support and manage each labor to meet each woman’s unique needs. In addition to pharmaceutical techniques to help labor progress and assist with comfort, we also offer non-pharmaceutical methods, and our patients love it! We offer women frequent, one-on-one nursing support, and we use labor props like birthing balls and peanut balls to help position women in a way that not only enhances their comfort but also encourages the baby to move into a more favorable position for delivery.

We spend time with and assess where the patient is at in the labor process and where her baby is positioned in the pelvis. We then work closely with her, providing education and using techniques that not only help create a safe and trusting environment, but also encourages comfort and helps the progression of her labor. One of our favorite and most effective tools to use is the peanut ball. The peanut ball is made out of the same material as a traditional birthing ball, but is instead in the shape of a peanut, hence its name! For our patients who have epidurals, or for our patients who want to rest and get off their feet, the peanut ball gives us a way to open the pelvis (and help the baby down) while she is in bed. Not only do our patients—and their babies—love the peanut balls, but research shows peanut balls help shorten labor and increase comfort!

What tools do the nurses at Piedmont Atlanta use to help the labor process?

Our nurses have invaluable tools to help support and manage labor. We use and share guides and handouts that match different signs and symptoms of labor with specific peanut ball positions and placement. For example, if a baby is in the mid-pelvis or if the baby’s head is occiput posterior (sunny side up), then an “exaggerated runners” position may help the baby rotate into a more desired position to be able to dilate and come down. The position guide not only describes when and how to do a certain position, but it also has pictures of each position for a helpful reference. Some of our nurses are educated on these labor techniques, and then share their knowledge and experience with the team. Because of this collaboration, we use peanut balls with almost every woman in labor.

For maternity care, what can patients expect from Piedmont?

When you receive maternity care at Piedmont, you can expect a holistic approach to personalized healthcare to make the entire experience hassle-free for you. We really try to take the guess work out of your care.

We have a collaborative culture where our doctors know each other and work very well together to make sure the woman is at the center of the healthcare team. It’s a partnership. Our nurses are friendly, knowledgeable, and often stay with each patient through the entire surgical or labor process. At Piedmont, we use the same nurse so every woman has continuity of care and a relationship during a time of high anxiety. Each doctor who encounters our patients uses the same electronic medical record so information is quickly and easily shared between the healthcare team.

At Piedmont, we value meaningful relationships with our patients. We care about you and want to get to know you. We also value each person’s experience and are always thinking about what little touches we can add at every step of your journey to make the overall experience more special, more comfortable, easier, better. We offer a combination of the human side of care paired with the latest technology and digital tools, research and best practices to provide you with high quality, seamless care in a safe, trusting environment.

What is “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)”?

ERAS is an evidenced-based approach to care used by Piedmont obstetricians (OBs) and anesthesia teams to prepare a patient for surgery and for quick recovery after surgery.

Why is “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery” beneficial for patients?

Not many places use ERAS. Piedmont Women’s Center is an early adopter of this best practice. Because Piedmont uses the ERAS pathway, our patients can move around much sooner, are less nauseous and are able to eat and drink sooner after surgery. They also most often able to manage pain after surgery with Tylenol and Motrin instead of narcotics. This enhanced recovery pathway is so important for our patients because it allows them to not only recover quickly after delivery, but it also lets them focus on caring for (and breastfeeding) their newborn.

How does it work?

We use our collaborative relationships among our healthcare team and partner with our patients to make sure they are cared for every step of the way. During pregnancy, the OB will talk with the patient about ERAS, how it works, and what the patient’s role is.

We ask her not to eat or drink for 8 hours before surgery and then to drink 12 ounces of Gatorade 3 hours before surgery. Before surgery, the nurse will again talk to the patient about ERAS, then start an IV, and will give Tylenol. The anesthesiologist will then talk with her again about ERAS and answer any questions she has.

Before, during, and after surgery, the OB, anesthesiologist and nurse are with the patient to make sure she is comfortable and cared for. ERAS is effective at Piedmont because of our holistic approach to personalized healthcare.

Maternal mortality and morbidity (severe illness) is a public health concern for the US and there are wide racial and ethnic gaps that exist. In fact, black women are 2-3 times more likely to be affected by maternal mortality or morbidity than white women. How do you talk to your patients about this?

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, both as a clinician and as a Black woman who’s experienced pregnancy and postpartum complications. Many of my patients who are Black ask me about maternal mortality and they want to know how they can feel safe. And I do believe that at Piedmont these women do feel safe, not only because we provide excellent care, but because we take the time to develop relationships with our patients, to get to truly know them, and listen and *hear* their concerns.

Provider Spotlight

sheena harmon, MD

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Sheena Harmon is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from Georgia Southern University. She then went on to attend the Morehouse School of Medicine for medical school and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society after graduating at the top of her class. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. During her residency, she received the Robert J. Clapp Diversity Leadership Award and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award.

Dr. Harmon is very passionate about teaching and educating both her students and her patients. She is the Medical Director of Gynecology Resident Education at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and holds affiliations with Mercer University and Emory University’s Physician Assistant programs. She mentors several undergraduate and graduate level students and serves on the admissions committee at Morehouse School of Medicine.

When not caring for patients, Dr. Harmon spends time with her husband and young son. She enjoys cooking, kayaking, biking, discovering new restaurants, and international travel.

Recent Patient Reviews

She (Dr. Harmon) has a wonderful energy and seems to really care about me and my health. She carried a professional, and yet personal, conversation through my painless pap smear. I have already recommended her to friends.

Dr. Harmon is very patient & caring. I never feel rushed or intimidated to ask all the questions I have. She provides wonderful care.

Literally the best doctor I have ever had. I recommend her (Dr. Harmon) to everyone. She is incredibly smart, non-judgmental, professional, & kind.

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