New Parents’ Guide to the Delivery Room



Childbirth holds a lot of unknowns. What to expect in the labor and delivery room shouldn’t be among them. For some women, the thought of hospitals ushers in a wave of concern thanks to not-so-pleasant previous experiences. For others, being admitted to one may be a first-time experience. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, know this: A new, exciting life awaits you at the end of those sterile hallways. 

Before your due date is on the horizon, schedule a tour of the labor and delivery unit so you know where to park (something you don’t want to have to figure out while in labor!), can familiarize yourself with the building, and ask questions of the staff. These simple preparations can greatly ease a mom’s mind about what to expect while she’s in labor. One thing that leaves many parents encouraged is the fact that hospital systems far and wide are going to great measures to make delivery suites look less clinical and more like a high-end hotel—from beautiful artwork and warm wood tones throughout, to intricately tiled bathrooms with spa-like Jacuzzis. But don’t worry! All the aesthetic touches are simply adornments for rooms outfitted with state-of-the-art medical equipment that’s important should complications arise.

Admittance

Your first destination in the hospital will be the OB nurse’s station. It’s here that you’ll answer preliminary questions regarding your due date, symptoms, any allergies you might have and who your doctor is. If you go to the emergency room first, don’t be surprised if they whisk you away to the labor and delivery unit in a wheelchair. Otherwise, expect to waddle your way up to check in yourself.

Triage

Unless it’s obvious you’re about to deliver, you will be directed to a triage unit where a nurse will assess your labor’s progress and determine whether or not you’ll be admitted. Whether it’s a false alarm or not, expect a wardrobe change to be in order (both a hospital gown and fetal monitor will be required so staff can assess your cervical dilation and vitals, as well as track your contraction patterns and baby’s heart rate).

Labor & Delivery Room

Congratulations! You’ve been given the green light in triage to be admitted. This means you’re one step closer to meeting your baby face to face. It’s time to round up your things from the triage room and make your way to the labor and delivery unit. Don’t worry if you can’t remember where everything is from your preliminary tour. You’ll find a staff member awaiting your arrival, ready to help you settle into your room. Many birth centers and hospitals have outfitted rooms to be all-encompassing suites, capable of handling labor, delivery and postpartum care (meaning you and your baby remain in one place during your stay). The goal is to keep you happy and comfortable, with as many home-like amenities as possible, but you can expect to find some things unique to your delivery room.

For instance, the bed is unlike anything you’ll find at a local mattress store. Hospital beds not only adjust up and down at the top and bottom but are also fitted with a number of hidden apparatuses for labor, such as handles, stirrups and on some models, even a birthing bar to bear down on as you push. But don’t worry about getting tripped up over these accessories post-delivery. After your baby is born, the bed will be brought back to its original position so quickly you’ll almost forget what it was like during labor (almost!).

Just as your bed undergoes a metamorphosis during labor, so your room, too, can undergo a drastic change should the need arise. In some cases, infant resuscitation equipment, as well as oxygen or suction receptacles, are discreetly hidden behind artwork, wall panels or closet doors. More amazing still, in some rooms the flip of a switch reveal a birthing mirror or overhead lights hidden within ceiling panels.

Some devices aren’t so cleverly hidden. Expect to find a trifecta of equipment flanking your bedside: a fetal monitor, blood pressure cuff and an IV pole (should you need fluids or medication). Nursing staff will enter your personal information on a computer (sometimes wheeled into your room and sometimes included within the fetal monitoring system, depending on the practice). Don’t be discouraged if the fetal monitor doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the intensity of your contractions. As an external tool, these monitors simply gauge the rhythm and rate of contractions, not how strong they may feel.

Not only will you find medical equipment throughout the room, but you’ll also find holistic tools to help you cope with labor.  Yoga balls and peanut balls, as well as aromatherapy, are often at your disposal. If these tools sound appealing, ask for them.

Your primary support person will also have a place within your room. Your cheerleader’s setup won’t come outfitted with all the bells and whistles that your bed does, but expect to find a reclining armchair or window seat that converts to a fold-out bed.

If you find yourself in need of a c-section, know that surgical suites are often much like delivery rooms only smaller and without equipment for a vaginal delivery. Regardless of how you deliver, expect to find a wheeled bassinet somewhere within your room that can whisk your precious new bundle back and forth between your room and the nursery.

Lastly, the bathroom in your suite will have special accommodations to suit the work your body will endure throughout and after labor. Items include a shower chair in case you feel unstable on your feet, a Jacuzzi tub for hydrotherapy, and a sitz bath to provide some post-delivery relief.

 

 

 Lauren Greenlee is a writer and mother of three hailing from Olathe, KS.

 

As always, please consult your hNew Parents’ Guide to the Delivery Room

 

Childbirth holds a lot of unknowns. What to expect in the labor and delivery room shouldn’t be among them. For some women, the thought of hospitals ushers in a wave of concern thanks to not-so-pleasant previous experiences. For others, being admitted to one may be a first-time experience. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, know this: A new, exciting life awaits you at the end of those sterile hallways. 

 

Before your due date is on the horizon, schedule a tour of the labor and delivery unit so you know where to park (something you don’t want to have to figure out while in labor!), can familiarize yourself with the building, and ask questions of the staff. These simple preparations can greatly ease a mom’s mind about what to expect while she’s in labor. One thing that leaves many parents encouraged is the fact that hospital systems far and wide are going to great measures to make delivery suites look less clinical and more like a high-end hotel—from beautiful artwork and warm wood tones throughout, to intricately tiled bathrooms with spa-like Jacuzzis. But don’t worry! All the aesthetic touches are simply adornments for rooms outfitted with state-of-the-art medical equipment that’s important should complications arise.

 

Admittance

Your first destination in the hospital will be the OB nurse’s station. It’s here that you’ll answer preliminary questions regarding your due date, symptoms, any allergies you might have and who your doctor is. If you go to the emergency room first, don’t be surprised if they whisk you away to the labor and delivery unit in a wheelchair. Otherwise, expect to waddle your way up to check in yourself.

 

Triage

Unless it’s obvious you’re about to deliver, you will be directed to a triage unit where a nurse will assess your labor’s progress and determine whether or not you’ll be admitted. Whether it’s a false alarm or not, expect a wardrobe change to be in order (both a hospital gown and fetal monitor will be required so staff can assess your cervical dilation and vitals, as well as track your contraction patterns and baby’s heart rate).

 

Labor & Delivery Room

Congratulations! You’ve been given the green light in triage to be admitted. This means you’re one step closer to meeting your baby face to face. It’s time to round up your things from the triage room and make your way to the labor and delivery unit. Don’t worry if you can’t remember where everything is from your preliminary tour. You’ll find a staff member awaiting your arrival, ready to help you settle into your room. Many birth centers and hospitals have outfitted rooms to be all-encompassing suites, capable of handling labor, delivery and postpartum care (meaning you and your baby remain in one place during your stay). The goal is to keep you happy and comfortable, with as many home-like amenities as possible, but you can expect to find some things unique to your delivery room.

 

For instance, the bed is unlike anything you’ll find at a local mattress store. Hospital beds not only adjust up and down at the top and bottom but are also fitted with a number of hidden apparatuses for labor, such as handles, stirrups and on some models, even a birthing bar to bear down on as you push. But don’t worry about getting tripped up over these accessories post-delivery. After your baby is born, the bed will be brought back to its original position so quickly you’ll almost forget what it was like during labor (almost!).

 

Just as your bed undergoes a metamorphosis during labor, so your room, too, can undergo a drastic change should the need arise. In some cases, infant resuscitation equipment, as well as oxygen or suction receptacles, are discreetly hidden behind artwork, wall panels or closet doors. More amazing still, in some rooms the flip of a switch reveal a birthing mirror or overhead lights hidden within ceiling panels.

 

Some devices aren’t so cleverly hidden. Expect to find a trifecta of equipment flanking your bedside: a fetal monitor, blood pressure cuff and an IV pole (should you need fluids or medication). Nursing staff will enter your personal information on a computer (sometimes wheeled into your room and sometimes included within the fetal monitoring system, depending on the practice). Don’t be discouraged if the fetal monitor doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the intensity of your contractions. As an external tool, these monitors simply gauge the rhythm and rate of contractions, not how strong they may feel.

 

Not only will you find medical equipment throughout the room, but you’ll also find holistic tools to help you cope with labor.  Yoga balls and peanut balls, as well as aromatherapy, are often at your disposal. If these tools sound appealing, ask for them.

 

Your primary support person will also have a place within your room. Your cheerleader’s setup won’t come outfitted with all the bells and whistles that your bed does, but expect to find a reclining armchair or window seat that converts to a fold-out bed.

 

If you find yourself in need of a c-section, know that surgical suites are often much like delivery rooms only smaller and without equipment for a vaginal delivery. Regardless of how you deliver, expect to find a wheeled bassinet somewhere within your room that can whisk your precious new bundle back and forth between your room and the nursery.

 

Lastly, the bathroom in your suite will have special accommodations to suit the work your body will endure throughout and after labor. Items include a shower chair in case you feel unstable on your feet, a Jacuzzi tub for hydrotherapy, and a sitz bath to provide some post-delivery relief.

 

 

 Lauren Greenlee is a writer and mother of three hailing from Olathe, KS.

 

As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.ealth care provider with any questions or concerns. 

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