Getting Ready for the Big Day

mother holding infant

The big day will be here before you know it! These guidelines will help you prepare for delivery at our Family Birthing Center and get ready to meet the newest member of your family.

Pack your overnight bag well in advance of your due date. We suggest you include:

  • Your insurance card, the telephone number of your insurance company and photo identification
  • A personal music player to listen to your favorite relaxing tunes
  • Camera and/or video equipment (Please note: You must have permission from hospital staff before photographing them. Photographing or videotaping other patients is not allowed.)
  • Any special pillows from home with a colored pillowcase to differentiate it from hospital bedding
  • Socks to warm your feet
  • If desired, snacks for dad or your labor coach
  • Addresses and phone numbers of friends and family
  • Nightgown or pajamas, robe, bra and underwear and slippers to wear after your delivery
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Reading material such as books and magazines
  • A baby book to get your baby’s footprints after delivery
  • Loose-fitting clothes to wear home
  • Baby clothes, including an outfit, hat, booties and blanket
  • An approved infant car seat (Get information on choosing the right car seat for your child.)

Don't bring:

  • Medications or prescriptions from home
  • Valuables, jewelry, credit cards, money, checkbook, wallet or purse; leave them at home

If you’re unsure whether to go to the hospital or stay home, call your doctor, especially if:

  • You are having regular painful contractions
  • Your water has broken
  • You have heavy bleeding
  • You don’t feel your baby moving
  • You have other concerns

When in doubt, make the call. Your physician or midwife will provide guidance and reassurance.

When it’s time to deliver your baby, go straight to the Emergency Department to register. You’ll be evaluated by your doctor or mid-wife, who will monitor your contractions and your baby’s heartbeat.

Comfortable Birthing Suites

Parkland’s private labor and birthing rooms offer a safe, supportive environment with skilled and helpful care providers—and technology readily available to support your birthing experience. Our birthing suites are designed to make you feel at home, with private baths, Jacuzzi tubs, comfortable furniture, flat-screen TVs, free wireless internet and a sleep sofa for an overnight guest.

Childbirth Techniques and Pain Management

We offer a number of techniques to make your labor more comfortable and effective, including:

  • Birthing balls and adjustable birthing beds
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Music therapy
  • Heat therapy and water therapy (warm bath or shower)

Alternatives for managing pain include medications and epidural anesthesia. Talk with your doctor or midwife to determine the pain management options that are best for you.

Cesarean Birth

If vaginal delivery is not possible, you will have a cesarean birth (C-section), an operation that delivers your baby through your abdomen. Although some C-sections are planned for medical reasons, sometimes the need is not known until labor is underway (for example, if the baby’s head is too large to pass through the birth canal). In most cases, your spouse or significant other will be able to accompany you through the procedure.

The obstetrics team at Parkland Medical Center is firmly committed to national guidelines supporting full-term (39 weeks) pregnancies for the optimal health of both the newborn and the mother. Our C-section rates are lower than national averages. You can rest assured, however, that if a surgical birth is necessary, you and your baby are in good hands.

You and your new baby will have a private, home-like post-partum experience where your family can bond with the new baby. We practice “rooming in” and “couplet care” (one nurse caring for both mother and baby) because research indicates that keeping a baby with its mother is better for both as they get to know each other. This means you and your baby will remain in the same room throughout your stay.

All newborn care—including bathing and checking vital signs—takes place in your room, and family members are encouraged to participate. We use bedside shift reporting, which includes you in the update reporting that occurs whenever nursing shifts change. Your significant other is welcome to stay overnight and assist you with caring for your new baby. During this time, your patient care team will support you and your baby as you get to know each other and recover.

If you plan to breastfeed your baby, our certified lactation consultants and breastfeeding support services will help get you started comfortably and confidently.

Our expert nursing staff members receive training and certification in specific lifesaving procedures, so you can count on them to know your baby’s body and how to respond quickly to unexpected or challenging situations. If your baby needs additional observation or care, our newborn nursery is equipped with the technology and specially trained nurses to monitor your baby and provide skilled care. Should your baby require a more intensive level of care, we can arrange for transport to one of several nearby neonatal intensive care units in the area.

Learn more about our special services for moms and babies after your baby is born.

While you’re in labor, your husband, partner or coach may visit you at any time. Additional visitors may be permitted at your bedside with your approval.

After your baby’s here, your friends and family may visit at any time, but it’s important to balance your desire to share this important event with others and your need for rest, nursing care and time with your baby. Children under the age of 12 may visit with supervision. It’s in your baby’s best interests that visiting children have up-to-date immunizations and that anyone with an infection, such as a cold or flu or those who have been recently exposed to one, not visit the maternity area.

Our comfortable family waiting rooms provide ample space for additional well-wishers. All visitors must check in at the nurses’ station to obtain a visitor badge.

Pregnancy & Birth Resources

Visit the Pregnancy Center at our online Health Library for comprehensive maternity resources.