At the Middlesex Health Pregnancy & Birth Center at Middlesex Hospital, we are honored and privileged to share your birth experience with you and your family. To make sure that your experience is as fulfilling as possible, we encourage you to fill out a Birth Plan, as a way of expressing your preferences regarding labor and birth to your caregivers.
Please take the time to read about routine procedures at the Pregnancy & Birth Center. Any personal preferences should be discussed with your primary care provider before you arrive at the hospital. You may choose to write down your personal wishes on your Birth Plan, which can be sent to the hospital with your medical history. We are very flexible, and wish to support your needs in safe, caring atmosphere.
Activity in labor
Walking is a natural way to help your baby move down the birth canal, and dilate your cervix. The birth center is specially designed to provide a good walking route while you are in labor. Walking, showering, tub baths, rocking in a rocking chair, using a birthing ball, and frequent position changes are encouraged to facilitate the labor process, as long as your medical condition allows.
Eating in labor
Sips of clear fluids and ice chips are commonly used during the first stage of labor to prevent dehydration, and for comfort. To ensure safety, your stomach needs to be empty of solid food, in case a Cesarean birth is necessary.
After an initial evaluation of your baby’s heartbeat for 20–30 minutes, intermittent monitoring every 15–30 minutes may be used as your condition allows. Internal fetal monitoring is not routinely used, unless the baby has shown signs of distress or needs closer monitoring.
Options range from no medication to epidural anesthesia. Experienced labor nurses will support you with comfort measures, breathing techniques, massage and position changes.
- Aromatherapy is available to enhance relaxation.
- Narcotic pain relievers are available (Stadol is commonly used).
- Anesthesiologists are available 24 hours a day for epidural administration.
Frequent position changes are encouraged during the pushing stage of labor. Pushing positions include: squatting, side lying, and with legs supported. Birthing beds have squatting bar attachments, and can be moved into many different positions for pushing. A mirror is available for you to watch the baby’s head when it crowns.
An episiotomy (an incision made in the perineum) is not routinely performed, unless one is requested, or the birth process needs to be hastened for your baby’s safety.
Perineal massage, warm soaks, and controlled pushing are used to reduce the chance of an episiotomy. If an episiotomy becomes necessary, ice packs, Witch Hazel pads, and sitz baths are used to help ease discomfort.
You and Your Baby
Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby is encouraged as soon as possible after birth. If your baby requires immediate medical attention, he or she will be given to you as soon as their condition is stable.
- Breastfeeding is encouraged, and may be initiated as soon as you and your baby are ready. Supportive nurses will be there to help you.
- Your baby will not be given a pacifier or any supplements unless you request them.
- Formula is available at the Hospital if you choose to bottle-feed.
- Your baby will be bathed and examined in the room with you and will stay with you at all times during your stay, or you may utilize the nursery for "baby-sitting."