Estimating Capacity and Space for Obstetrical Services

The capacity of a labor and delivery suite will vary depending on whether the hospital is deploying the single-room maternity care concept exclusively — using combined labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum rooms (LDRP rooms) — or if the mother and infant are moved to a separate postpartum unit after delivery. The labor and delivery area will also typically include one to three delivery/operating rooms for C-sections and a normal newborn nursery or infant holding area. A designated admission/triage area is often provided for higher-volume services.

Number of  LDR/LDRP rooms. The following guidelines can be used to estimate the number of LDR/LDRP rooms required:

  • LDRP concept (exclusively) — 100 to 200 annual births per LDRP room — assuming single-room maternity care with exclusive use of combined LDRP rooms with the mother and baby discharged from the LDRP room.
  • LDR concept (primarily) — 300 to 400 annual births per LDR/LDRP room; the lower capacity range assumes that selected patients will be discharged from the LDR/LDRP room while the higher capacity range assumes that the LDR concept is used exclusively and the mother and baby are discharged from a separate postpartum room.

Size of the labor and delivery suite. A range of 800 to 1,000 DGSF (74.3 to 92.9 DGSM) per LDR/LDRP room can be used to estimate the overall size of the labor and delivery suite.

Size of the antepartum/postpartum unit. For an antepartum or postpartum nursing unit, a range of 450 to 700 DGSF (41.8 to 65.0 DGSM) per bed can be used to estimate the overall size of the unit.  The lower space range assumes a mix of private and semiprivate patient rooms while the higher range assumes all private patient rooms and enhanced amenities.

Note: Department gross square feet/meters (DGSF/DGSM) represents the footprint of a department or functional component and includes the net area of the individual rooms as well as the space occupied by internal circulation corridors, walls/partitions, and minor utility shafts. More detailed information can be found in the SpaceMed Guide.