Labor + Delivery

Every labor and every delivery is different but here are some of the things you can expect when it is time to welcome your new baby into the world, and some of the steps you can take to prepare yourself.

Before you go into Labor

Save time. Pre-register at the Hospital. You can take care of insurance information and as much paperwork as possible beforehand so you can just focus on your delivery come the big day.

Arrive at the Hospital

You will have an exam to check labor progression. If you are not far enough along you might be sent home, but don’t worry, you’ll be back!
If your contractions are strong and your cervix is changing, you’ll be admitted.

Get Settled in Your Birthing Room

  • You will be admitted to one of the LDRP (Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum) rooms.
  • Get comfy. Feel free to bring and unload everything from your hospital bag
  • Meet your labor and delivery nurse, who will be your point person as your labor progresses.
  • Share and discuss thoughts on your birth. This is a good time to talk about how you plan to manage pain and who you may want in your room during labor and delivery.
  • Vital signs like your blood pressure and temperature will be taken. Blood may be drawn, and an IV may be started, in case antibiotics are needed due to a positive Group B strep, for hydration, and if you want any pain management medicine such as an epidural.
  • Expect to be hooked up to two monitors – one to measure the timing and strength of your contractions, the other to measure the baby’s heart rate.
  • Ask your nurse for anything you might need, like an exercise ball to bounce and labor on, rocking chair, a cool washcloth, or ice chips.
  • You will more than likely have a few labor nurses, each introducing themselves as they begin their shift.

Labor and Delivery

For most of labor, you’ll spend time with your support person, and a labor nurse who will maintain assessment and management of your labor while being in frequent contact with your physician or nurse midwife. Labor can take hours. Your nurse can help you get comfortable by assisting with pain management measures, from running the bathtub to putting in an order to the anesthesiologist. Sooner or later you will be evaluated to see if you are ready to push. Your nurse and doctor or midwife will be involved to help determine the correct time to push, typically at 10 centimeters. Your team will then get your birthing room ready for delivery.

Welcome Your Baby

It’s time for skin to skin, snuggles, and breastfeeding. Shortly after birth, your baby will receive recommended medications such as antibiotic eye ointment, Vitamin K injection and Hepatitis B immunization. Use the help of a lactation consultant to be sure breastfeeding is off to a good start. Don’t worry if it takes some time for your and your baby to get it right. You and your baby will learn together. (Start learning now with Healthy Futures breastfeeding tutorials.)

Over the next days, your baby will stay with you in your room. During this time, baby will be weighed and examined by both nurses and your baby’s doctor. Before you leave the hospital the baby’s hearing with be tested and depending on your birth plan and the sex of the baby; possibly a circumcision.

The best way to prepare for your hospital labor and delivery is to Take Childbirth Class. Find one near you.