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As of January 1, 2020, Southcoast Health will no longer offer labor and delivery services at Tobey Hospital, except in cases of emergency. Tobey will continue to provide care in the emergency department to all – including pregnant patients in labor – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On October 23, 2019, Southcoast Health participated in a hearing required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to inform residents about a plan to transition maternity services from Tobey Hospital in Wareham while enhancing the model of care at St. Luke’s and dedicating a full floor to the Women and Children’s Pavilion. We are grateful for the opportunity to both share our vision and receive input from the community.

This page contains information presented to the public during that hearing, as well as additional materials about what the future holds for women and children’s health at Southcoast. Thank you for visiting, and please email with any questions, concerns and comments.

The Baby Friendly Task Force at St. Luke’s Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Southcoast Health discontinuing maternity services at Tobey Hospital?

Discontinuing maternity services from Tobey Hospital was a decision made after much deliberation. Southcoast Health is proud of Tobey’s tradition of maternity care and honored by the trust that mothers and families have placed in our team.

Acknowledging that the time had come to transition the Tobey family centered unit was determined by the needs of southeastern Massachusetts: The volume of deliveries at Tobey decreased by 22 percent from calendar years 2013 through 2018. In fiscal year 2019, there were 364 deliveries, for an average of one delivery per day. This is unsustainable in terms of resources and readiness for any hospital or health system.

In fiscal year 2018, 27 percent of Tobey’s deliveries originated from the Greater New Bedford area. At St. Luke’s, by investing in a truly exceptional range of services and in our outstanding staff and providers, including Boston Children’s Hospital specialists, we are responding to the needs of the entire region, both today and in the future.

After maternity services at Tobey are discontinued, where can moms and babies receive care?

Depending on the specific need, moms and babies can still receive care at Tobey, as existing Ob/Gyn services and providers will remain in Wareham.

If expecting moms with due dates after December 31, 2019, wish to deliver with Southcoast Health providers and facilities, you can schedule at the St. Luke’s Women and Children’s Pavilion and the Charlton Memorial FCU.

Is St. Luke’s prepared to absorb this patient volume?


The Women and Children’s Pavilion at St. Luke’s currently facilitates upward of 1,500 deliveries annually; St. Luke’s can absorb Tobey’s delivery volume, and will continue to welcome expecting moms and families from across the region with additional clinical staff and a range of services that is truly exceptional in a community setting.

With clinical staff from Tobey joining St. Luke’s and the Women and Children’s Pavilion fully operational with its enhanced model of care, St. Luke’s is now the destination for starting and growing healthy families.

Can St. Luke’s offer the same level of personalized maternity care as Tobey?


Maternity practices are universal across the Southcoast Health system. Birth plans are driven by the wishes of expecting mothers, which may include natural alternatives for pain management, hypnobirthing, hydrotherapy, and other low medical interventions.

Expecting moms and families are encouraged to schedule a tour at the St. Luke’s Women and Children’s Pavilion by emailing

For more frequently asked questions, please click here.