Congratulations on your pregnancy! We at Women & Infants Hospital are excited to partner with you on the special occasion of your labor and birth.
We want to share with you common practices and available birth options at Women & Infants Hospital so that you will have an idea of what to expect. We hope this information provides a means of discussion to help you and your partner identify your feelings and desires for this special day. Please begin to think about these issues and discuss them with your health care provider. You may want to bring a copy of your preference list (Our Birth Plan, Nuestro Plan Para el Alumbramiento) with you to your next office visit as well as the hospital. Our commitment is to provide you and your family a safe and comfortable environment.
- Early labor is sometimes long. During this time, it is very important for you to be able to move freely, change positions, rest, and eat light snacks. Usually, home is a much better place for early labor. Do not be discouraged if, on the first exam in the obstetric triage unit, you are asked to return home so that you may walk, rest, and be comfortable in your own surroundings. If you wish, a safe medication may be given to help you rest at home. The emergency room at Women & Infants is staffed with obstetricians, family medicine physicians, midwives, and nurse practitioners who will review suggested comfort measures with you and let you know when to return to the hospital.
- We do not routinely start an IV upon admission, unless there is a medical reason or it is part of your pain management plan. You will be free to walk around, drink clear liquids, and try different positions for comfort and to help your labor progress.
- Every baby’s heart rate is monitored externally in the obstetric triage unit. If the baby’s heart rate is normal, you may be monitored intermittently. Sometimes continuous monitoring is medically necessary.
- If there is a need for your labor to be induced, your provider will discuss this with you and schedule it with the antepartum care and labor units. You may find more information on the process of induction here. Please understand that all women coming to Women & Infants are admitted according to medical need and medical priority. In some cases, and after consulting with your doctor or midwife, we may need to change the time of your induction or we may need to re-schedule your induction for another day.
- All of our labor and birth rooms are private; some have showers and access to a tub. Our in-hospital Alternative Birthing Center (ABC) has a Jacuzzi tub. We encourage you to bring your favorite music with a portable player; dim the lights to create a relaxing environment and change positions as you need for comfort. You may have support persons and/or doula with you for labor; they are a welcome part of your care team.
- It is important to stay well hydrated during your labor, so we encourage you to drink clear liquids during this time. We provide ice chips, water, juice, broth, tea, and Jello. You may also wish to bring hard candy for yourself and snacks for your partner.
- We support a range of non-medication options for coping with labor including walking, massage, rocking chairs, birthing balls, and heat/cold therapy. Our nurses are experts in labor support.
- For pain medication, we offer two options that are both safe for the baby - a short-term narcotic (either IV or intramuscularly, a shot in the thigh) and epidural anesthesia (pain medication in the lower back).
- Episiotomies, forceps and vacuum births are not routinely performed at Women & Infants Hospital. However, there are some circumstances in which your care provider may recommend it.
- Should a cesarean birth become necessary, you will likely be awake and your support person can remain with you for the birth. You and your partner will be able to hold your baby immediately after birth as long as he/she is in good health. Discuss the available option of a gentle cesarean with your provider. On rare occasions, you may need general anesthesia. In this circumstance, you will be asleep and your support person will be asked to wait outside of the operating room.
- After a vaginal birth, we usually place the baby on your belly and the umbilical cord is clamped after a period of time. If your support person desires, he/she will be able to cut the umbilical cord.
- For security purposes, matching identification bands will be given to the baby, mother and one designated support person. Our staff will discuss our state-of-the -art infant security system with you.
- The recovery period is a time of transition for both you and your baby. You will stay in the labor and birth room while we monitor you and the baby. During this time, you and your baby stay together as much as possible, and we encourage you to spend time with your baby skin to skin. Your baby will be receiving standard medications such as Vitamin K (to help blood clotting) and Erythromycin ointment to the eyes (to prevent infection). After the recovery period, you and your baby will be moved to a private postpartum room. If you choose to deliver in our in-hospital Alternative Birthing Center (ABC), you may stay there and opt for early discharge home with follow-up care in your home.
- We support your decision to breast or bottle-feed your baby. While there are many studies demonstrating the health and social advantages of breastfeeding, each family has its unique needs. If you choose to breastfeed, we will help you initiate this within the first hour of life. Our staff is here to help you become successful in caring for your baby.
The postpartum period is not only a time to rest and recover, but also a time for you and your baby to learn about each other. Our staff is here to teach you about the changes you will be going through immediately after the birth and about your baby’s behavioral cues. We encourage you to take childbirth education classes before and after birth to help prepare for this exciting time.
- At Women & Infants, we encourage the baby and new parents to stay together as much as possible. The baby will be transferred with you to the Mother Baby Unit where we support rooming-in to promote bonding with your baby.
- Newborn circumcision is only done by parents’ request. The circumcision is scheduled after the pediatrician has examined the baby and after you have signed the informed consent. Please discuss the procedure with your pediatrician and obstetric provider.
Our desire is to honor your preferences for your birth experience. In some situations, the health of you or your baby may mean flexibility and collaboration with the health care team.
Please take the opportunity to review your preferences with your health care provider.