Pain Management During Labor
Whether you plan a medicated birth or not, we want you to have a positive birth experience. We offer several options, both medicated and unmedicated, to help you manage pain during labor and delivery.
We have several options to assist you in an unmedicated birth, including showers, labor tubs, exercise balls and portable monitors in case you need continuous monitoring.
Position changes and movement help your baby descend. Our labor room beds can be used in various positions, and we have squat bars for your pushing phase.
Our rooms have free Wifi so you can listen to music during your labor, and room lighting is adjustable- all ensuring the most comfortable experience for you and your baby.
IV Medication: You may have an IV medication to decrease discomfort during labor until your dilation is advanced. This medication does pass through the placenta to babies, so we limit its use. You may still receive an epidural after this time if you desire one.
An anesthesiologist sees everyone admitted to Labor and Delivery for a history and physical so they will know how to care for you if you want their services or if you need emergency care.
Epidurals relieve sharp pain but limit movement. We offer peanut balls to patients who have epidurals and can’t get out of bed. Peanut balls have been found to decrease the length of both the dilating stage of labor and the pushing stage. They also have been found to lower the Cesarean section rate.
If you are over 37 weeks and have no medical problems, your baby will be cleaned and dried, then placed immediately skin-to-skin and belly-to-belly with you after delivery. We call this Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin.
We will place a diaper and hat on your baby and cover you both with warm blankets. This is the best way to help baby regulate its temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate and even blood sugar. Babies who are skin-to-skin are very alert. They don’t cry as much. They hear mom’s heartbeat, smell mom and are comforted in their new environment.
All of your baby’s care and your care will be done while your baby is skin-to-skin with you for the first hour. During this time, baby often moves over and latches on for the first breastfeeding. This baby-led feeding is a great way to begin breastfeeding. Your nurse will help you with this, and our Lactation Consultant will see you soon after delivery.
Once your baby is an hour old, we will do measurements and shots, then place your baby in Kangaroo Care for a second hour of skin-to-skin, with you or with your partner.
You may have other visitors come in to see your new baby during this time, but only you or your partner can do skin-to-skin. Passing the baby around in this early time can cause baby to get cold and possibly sick. Family members may hold your baby after the first two hours.
If you have a Cesarean section, we will bring your baby to the Recovery Room for Kangaroo Care as soon as you are settled. The Lactation Consultant will help you begin breastfeeding at this time.
Benefits of Kangaroo Care (PDF, 614 KB) A Parent Guide to Kangaroo Care in the NICU (PDF, 98 KB)
The average hospital stay for a vaginal delivery is 48 hours and 72 hours for a Cesarean section. During your stay, your nurse will teach you how to care for you and your baby. We will make sure you have follow up appointments for you and your baby before you go home. You also must choose a name for your baby before discharge.
Rooming in: Your baby will stay with you as much as possible after delivery. This allows you to learn early cues or signs of hunger, and how to care for your baby with our staff to assist you. This also allows babies to eat on demand, not by the clock.
Quite time: Every day from 1-3 p.m., we have quiet time on our Mother and Baby Unit. We turn down overhead lights, ask visitors to silence their cellphones and allow you to have time with your baby and your family, or to rest without the interruption of the hospital staff.
Lactation services: We have lactation consultants available during your hospital stay. Our nurses also have extensive training and can help you be successful with breastfeeding. Our Mommy and Me Clinic is available Monday-Friday, from 12:45-3 p.m. for help with breastfeeding issues.
Formula feeding: While we know breastmilk is best, not everyone can breastfeed. You will be taught how to safely mix formula and how to formula feed your infant. Babies still have the same signs or cues of hunger, and should be fed by these cues and not the clock with bottles. We will help you learn these cues and how to feed your baby effectively.
Newborn channel: We broadcast the Newborn Channel in the hospital on channel 72 in English and channel 73 in Spanish. Watch Newborn Channel programs at home! The password is printed on the newborn channel guide and program checklist. You may also contact your nurse or the childbirth educator.