The Lytle Center: a decade of nurturing families

In this article: 

  • This year, the Lytle Center for Pregnancy and Newborns at Swedish celebrated 10 years of caring for babies and families. 
  • The generosity of Chuck and Nancy Lytle to the Swedish Foundation make the Center and its work possible. 
  • Your gift to the Foundation supports world-class care and a healthy tomorrow for our patients and communities.  

Every year, Swedish delivers more babies than any health system in western Washington. In fact, labor and delivery caregivers at Swedish help bring around 600 babies into the world each month. The Lytle Center for Pregnancy and Newborns provides those families with a welcoming place before and after birth for learning, health evaluations and ongoing support.  Just over a decade ago, this lively hub at Swedish's First Hill campus was merely a proposal seeking its champions, a promise to deepen our partnership in the care of families. The idea found its match in Chuck and Karen Lytle. The Lytles became the Center’s founding donors and were soon joined by other critical supporters in the Swedish community.

“They expected us to take a few days to decide, and we took a few seconds,” Chuck says. “The idea of supporting families in the community with central resources for pregnancy and newborns was exciting, and it was going to be a unique and creative project with so many possibilities. The Center’s ultimate success is due to the caring staff and caregivers.”  

“We believe in supporting women in all facets of life. My generation of women worked extra hard to get where they wanted to go, so we supported women in business,” says Karen. “Our daughter now runs our company.”   

“The Lytle Center also supports dads and children,” says Chuck. “We hear a lot of comments from men about how appreciative they are for the support they and their families receive.”  

As one Lytle Center dad shared, “[Our caregiver] Emily was amazing, incredibly kind and supportive, helping my wife work through breastfeeding issues. She gave my wife the confidence and reassurance to help us through a difficult time.”  

A Transformative Journey   

“I think of the Lytle Center as a living room for our maternity and newborn services,” says Tanya Sorensen, M.D., executive medical director of the Women and Children’s Institute. “It is a beautiful and calm space. It’s also where we’ve developed some of our most innovative and best-in-class programs, including our Center for Perinatal Bonding and Support (addressing post postpartum depression), Doula Services, and childbirth education program.”  

With extended hours, the Center’s clinic helps reduce emergency room visits for mothers and babies. In addition, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces help families connect and a classroom provides further education. Retail space offers gifts and practical items for purchase along with necessities, like breast pumps for rent. The center is also a drop-off location for donor breast milk in partnership with the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank.   

“The Lytle Center expanded our outpatient lactation program,” says Stacy Hammonds, Clinic Manager of the Swedish Maternal and Fetal Specialty Center. “Our lactation consultants have been doing this work for 20-plus years. Supporting the breastfeeding journey is their passion and only focus.”   

One patient described the transformative care she received after experiencing pain and struggling to feed her newborn who had been on a bottle in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“From the moment I started working with Lytle Center lactation consultant Madeline, my quality of life improved,” she says. “Because of her, my postpartum journey moved from a path headed toward postpartum depression to one that is the happiest I’ve ever been.”  

Potential to Grow 

One of the many strengths of the center is its proximity and ability to connect patients to specialists and specialized caregivers. Examples include coordinating with primary care doctors if a baby isn’t gaining enough weight, handling hospital admissions for an acute illness, or referring a patient for breast cancer screening if caregivers notice something unusual during a lactation-related appointment.  

In an unexpected development, the Lytle Center also became crucial to Swedish’s COVID response. COVID-positive OB outpatients received care at the clinic in isolation from uninfected patients in other obstetrics clinics. Feedback during that time also clarified how the center might expand, with patients asking for support closer to home. “Currently, we’re a centralized service,” says Stacy. “We’re considering how we can provide the same level and quality of care but in communities where our resources are more easily accessible once families are discharged.”  

“We hope to expand Lytle Center services across our Swedish footprint with or without additional space,” says Dr. Sorensen. “This includes classes, doula services like our JUST Birth Network, and support for postpartum depression and breastfeeding.”   

“It’s been an amazing journey and I hope more people with similar passions step up,” says Karen. “Once you find what you want to support in your community, it makes a difference.”

The generosity of our donors to the Swedish Foundation makes possible The Lytle Center and its services possible. Your gift supports world-class care and a healthy tomorrow for our patients and communities.    

Learn more and find a provider

Swedish has three birth centers — First HillIssaquah and Edmonds — making it convenient for people who live or work in the Seattle, Eastside and North End areas. Swedish patients can take classes, meet other families, get help with lactation and go for new parents and well-baby checkups at The Lytle Center for Pregnancy & Newborns at our First Hill birth center. You can also get expert advice there and help with wellness. Visit our website to learn more about midwives at Swedish and how they can partner with you to create the most personalized birthing experience possible. 

If you need a gynecologistwomen's health specialist or primary care doctor, Swedish is here for you. Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Information for patients and visitors 

Additional resources

TeamBirth maternity program launches at Providence Swedish

The JUST Birth Network

Do You Know How a Midwife Can Help You?

Not just the baby blues. Swedish experts on postpartum anxiety and depression

Cutting-edge care for patients giving birth and their babies | king5.com

U.S. News & World Report names Providence Swedish among nation’s best hospitals for maternity care

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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About the Author

There's a reason why more babies are born at Swedish every year than any other health system in western Washington - bringing babies into this world is our mission. The Swedish Pregnancy & Childbirth Team is committed to giving you relevant and actionable insights on how to care for yourself and your child as you navigate the trimesters of your pregnancy.

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