The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial Celebrates 25th Anniversary


Milestone Celebrates 25 Years of Innovation in Birthing, a Redesigned Facility, Community Support and More than 60,000 Deliveries

This month, The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center celebrates 25 years of transforming the birthing experience for local women, babies, and families. In honor of the milestone anniversary, the community is invited to celebrate at a family event, Sunday, May 19 from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Saddleback Memorial in Laguna Hills.

“When we opened our doors in 1988, our hospital was on the cutting edge of a new approach to childbirth” says Steve Geidt, chief executive officer for Saddleback Memorial. “This new approach put the mother, baby and family at the center of the process in a personalized environment, with state-of-the-art technology and clinicians available 24/7 for their safety and convenience. These innovations revolutionized the way women had babies, and established a new standard of care.”

As Southern Orange County rapidly grew in the 1980’s, Saddleback Memorial’s leadership brought together top experts in maternity care to design a new facility, The Women’s Hospital, with the vision of being “The Perfect Place to Have a Baby.” Among the many innovations and “firsts” were:

  • First facility on the West Coast to have LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum) suites, where the entire birthing experience could take place all in one room.
  • First on-site level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in South Orange County. Babies who needed special care no longer had to be transferred to outside facilities.
  • On-site medical specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including anesthesiologists, perinatologists (high risk pregnancy specialists), and neonatologists (specialists in premature newborns or those born with health problems).
  • Rooms designed with a homelike feel, complete with custom furniture and stylish, comfortable amenities.
  • Dads and other family members could be present for the delivery.
  • Babies stayed with the moms after birth instead of being whisked off to a nursery; pediatricians examined the babies in the rooms with their parents present.
“The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial was truly unique because it was designed as a place where women had babies their way, in a comfortable, family-friendly environment, offering concierge care and treated by skilled specialists using the highest standards of medical practice,” says David Lagrew, Jr., M.D., perinatologist and the first medical director for The Women’s Hospital.
Because of its availability of medical specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the level III NICU, The Women’s Hospital is the preferred choice for women with complex pregnancies and those delivering multiples.
“The Women’s Hospital has pioneered new and better ways of taking care of the hospital’s tiniest patients. I was thrilled to join such an elite team of specialists on the leading edge of innovation,” says Ronald A. Naglie, M.D., neonatologist and medical director for the NICU at The Women’s Hospital since 1994.
Through the years, individuals, numerous physicians, corporations, private foundations, and giving groups such as The Women’s Hospital Auxiliary, The Associates of Saddleback Hospital and Baby Alumni Club have provided funding for women and children’s services. In 1987, more than $5 million in gifts and pledges were raised for the new Women’s Hospital at Saddleback – then, the largest capital campaign in the medical center’s history.
“The generous donors from throughout the community have made this not-for-profit medical center what it is today,” says Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation. “We are forever grateful for the support that has been given over the years to provide quality care to our patients in innovative facilities such as The Women’s Hospital. Their gifts have touched the lives of so many families in Orange County and beyond.”
“We are very pleased to come together to commemorate these achievements, show off our newly renovated facility, thank the community for their support and celebrate the more than 60,000 miracles that have been delivered here since we opened. Our pledge to the community is to continue our outstanding, personalized level of care for the next 25 years, and beyond, for future generations in our community,” concluded Geidt.
The Women’s Hospital will host its anniversary celebration at its family community event Sunday, May 19:
  • Event will be held from12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, 24451 Health Center Drive, Laguna Hills. Basement Level: Conference Room 1.
  • Festivities include face painting; balloon artists; cupcakes and refreshments; a photo opportunity to reunite children with the physician who delivered them; and a special walk-through exhibit to explore the history of The Women’s Hospital.
  • More information can be found by visiting
Families who have had babies at The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial are invited to share their unique stories and photos on to receive a free commemorative t-shirt (while supplies last) and a chance to win a $500 gift card.