Woman’s Hospital Celebrates 55 Years

On November 18, 1968, Woman’s Hospital opened as one of the first specialty hospitals in the nation dedicated to treating the unique healthcare needs of women.  Now the largest birthing facility in Louisiana, Woman’s is looking back on 55 years by sharing notable facts and healthcare milestones.

  • Since 1968, Woman’s has delivered nearly 400,000 babies, with over 7,000 delivered to date this year. As baby names evolved through the years, Woman’s has compiled a list of what was most popular in 1968 compared to the hospital’s most popular names so far this year:
    • 1968 girl names: Lisa, Michelle, Kimberly, Jennifer, Melissa
    • 2023 girl names:  Charlotte, Olivia, Amelia, Harper, Emma
    • 1968 boy names:  Michael, David, John, James, Robert
    • 2023 boy names: Liam, James, Noah, Luke, William
  • Although Woman’s is recognized primarily as a birthing facility, its roots are in cervical cancer research. In the late 1950s when Pap smears were not commonly used, a cervical cancer detection laboratory was established by one of the Woman’s founders. The Cary Dougherty Cancer Detection Laboratory is one of the reasons Woman’s Hospital exists today.. It has processed over 3,300,000 Pap smears since inception and more than 32,000 to date in 2023.
  • When Woman’s first opened, it performed about two mammograms per day as they were only offered to women who had a lump or other symptoms of breast cancer. In 1985, the hospital emerged as an advocate for early detection and breast cancer awareness when it established its dedicated Breast Center. Today, Woman’s combines advanced technology with specialized care to detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer. It has performed 1,160,000 mammograms since 1968 including nearly 40,000 this calendar year.
  • Birth services have changed dramatically since Woman’s first opened. In the 1960s, women were heavily medicated throughout labor and delivery, babies were placed in a nursery immediately after birth and loved ones were not allowed in birthing rooms. Through the years, Woman’s approach has evolved to emphasize a family-centered experience, keeping mothers and babies together to promote immediate bonding and allowing loved ones to support mothers throughout the labor and delivery process. 
  • Care for critically ill babies has also transformed over the past 55 years. Originally, Woman’s had three incubators and a small team to treat babies in need of critical care.  Today, Woman’s NICU is the largest in the state with 84 beds, offering the most advanced technology available and specialized care teams providing 24/7 care for sick and premature infants.

About Woman’s Hospital

Woman’s is a specialty hospital for women and infants located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since opening in 1968, it has welcomed more than 375,000 babies, making it one of the largest delivery services in the country and the largest in Louisiana. Additionally, Woman’s operates a level III-S neonatal intensive care unit; this designation allows them to care for infants who are extremely premature, are critically ill or require surgical intervention. The hospital is also recognized for its expertise in mammography as well as breast and gynecologic cancer care. As a private, nonprofit organization, all funds are reinvested into the hospital to continue Woman’s mission to improve the health of women and infants through the latest technology, a highly qualified staff and critical community programs and services.