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What to Expect: A Guide for Expectant Parents


When should I come to the hospital?

Come to the hospital when:

  • You have regular contractions every five minutes or less for one hour.
  • Your bag of waters breaks.
  • You have vaginal bleeding (bright red bleeding enough to wear a pad).

What is a contraction?

A contraction may feel like a dull lower backache or menstrual cramps. The pain may start in the back and radiate around the front of the abdomen (belly), or it may only be felt in the abdomen. If you place your hand on top of your abdomen, you will feel a hardening of your uterus (womb). This is a contraction.

How will I know if my water breaks?

A gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina that you cannot control may mean the bag of waters has broken. Your water breaking does not by itself mean you are in labor. You should come to the hospital because the protective covering which surrounded your baby has broken. Bacteria (germs) may enter and cause infection in you and your baby.

What to Bring to the Hospital


The following items are usually necessary for a one- to three-day stay at Women’s Hospital.
For yourself:

  • Slippers/socks
  • Lightweight bathrobe
  • Going-home clothes (allow for extra size of bust and waist)
  • Bras (2); nursing bras or support bras/spandex sports bras if not breastfeeding
  • Panties (2-3)
  • Lightweight nightgowns or pajamas (3-4); front-opening for breastfeeding
  • Personal care items
  • Two or more bed pillows and pillow cases
  • Camera and batteries/charger

For baby:

  • Undershirt or onesie
  • Clothes for newborn photo
  • Going home clothes
  • Receiving blanket
  • Sweater, cap and blanket (appropriate to weather)
  • Infant car seat (installed properly in your vehicle)

Labor and Delivery


The staff at NMMC Women’s Hospital strives to make the labor and delivery process a pleasant and memorable experience. Once you arrive the admissions clerk will assign you to the appropriate department. You can save time by pre-admitting during the latter months of your pregnancy. You may be admitted to the OB Emergency Department, where an OB Hospitalist may assess your progress in labor. If you are in active labor, you will be moved to a labor room where you will remain until delivery. Your labor and delivery nurse will complete your admission history, provide room orientation, describe the visitation policy and discuss the plan of care during the labor process.

If epidural anesthesia is desired, you will receive a brochure, and anesthesia personnel will visit to explain the procedure and answer any concerns. You will be asked to sign consent forms for delivery and anesthesia.

Your Labor and Delivery nurse will provide continuous nursing care as you labor, and both you and the baby will be monitored as you progress toward delivery. Your nurse will inform you and your family as you progress. When you are completely dilated (10 centimeters), your nurse will give instructions preparing for delivery. Only the father (significant other) and one additional support person may attend delivery (at the discretion of the physician). During delivery, your nurse along with an obstetrics technician will assist the attending physician. Another nurse will be present to care for your baby. Photos are allowed after delivery, and your nurse will provide information on hospital policy. Videotaping is not allowed during delivery.

Identification bracelets will be completed with the appropriate information and placed on the baby’s right and left ankles. Your baby will be admitted using the mother’s last name. Your recovery period will last approximately two hours. We observe the Golden Hour after delivery to allow parents and their new baby to spend time together as a family. This bonding time for you and your baby is also the best time to initiate breastfeeding, if you choose to do so. We want to give you and your baby this time together, uninterrupted, so you can get to know each other.

You will be allowed to introduce your family and friends to your baby after you have this time alone. After the recovery period, you and your baby will be transitioned to the Mother-Baby Unit. Babies who are 34 weeks gestation and less will be transfered to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Babies who are 35 weeks gestation may require an observation period in the nursery following the Golden Hour. If you have any questions, please contact the Labor and Delivery Nurse Manager at (662) 377- 4962.


Mother-Baby Unit


Following the Golden Hour, your baby will receive two medications – erythromycin eye ointment to prevent eye infections that may be passed along through the birth canal and a shot of vitamin K to prevent bleeding. .


On the Mother-Baby Unit, your baby may "room in" with you. Rooming in provides excellent bonding time for you to learn your baby’s natural eating and sleeping routines. This is especially helpful if you choose to breastfeed your baby. Board certified Lactation Consultants will be available to assist you with any breastfeeding needs during your stay. Prior to discharge, we offer the first dose of Hepatitis B vaccine as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your baby will also have a hearing screen and will have a blood test for a number of genetic disorders. If you choose to have your baby boy circumcised, you will need to make prior arrangements with the physician who delivers your baby.


As you arrive on the Mother-Baby Unit, a staff member will greet you. Your room has been prepared prior to your arrival, and your primary nurse has been provided with information about your delivery. The nurse will instruct you on the operation of your bed, the nurse call light, TV, telephone and mealtime. She will also explain the hospital policy regarding visitation and the tobacco free environment. The nurse will assess your physical status and check your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respirations and temperature) frequently during the first four to six hours, depending on the type of delivery you had, and discuss with you steps to help promote a quick recovery.


During your labor, delivery and recovery period, you will receive very close observation. After transferring to the Mother-Baby Unit, less nursing observation is needed, and you will be given more time to bond with your baby.

Your physician will determine how long you will stay in the hospital. For an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, the length of stay is usually 48 hours. For an uncomplicated C-section delivery, the length of stay is usually 48-72 hours. During your hospitalization, someone from Medical Records will visit to complete your baby’s birth certificate.


Prior to discharge, we offer vaccinations as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. It is safe for you to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even if you are breastfeeding. If you have not received the new vaccine for prevention of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap), we recommend you be vaccinated after delivery. This will also reduce the risk of pertussis (whooping cough) for your baby. We also recommend the MMR vaccine if you are not immune to measles, mumps and rubella. The influenza vaccine is available during the flu season and is recommended if you did not receive the vaccine during your pregnancy.

The day of your discharge, the physician will visit and write your discharge order. The baby’s pediatrician will write the discharge for your baby. After the orders are written, it may take approximately two to three hours to complete the process and get you and your baby prepared to leave the hospital. State law requires all infants to be secured in an infant car seat.


Our goal at Women’s Hospital is for you to have a quick and safe recovery. If you have any questions or we do not meet your expectations, please contact the Postpartum Nurse Manager at (662) 377-4901.

Please note: NMMC is a “tobacco free” campus. This means that smoking, along with other tobacco use, is not permitted on NMMC property. This restriction applies to visitors, NMMC employees, physicians and patients.


Cesarean Section

When your physician schedules you for an elective C-Section you will be given an appointment card for a pre-anesthesia testing (PAT) visit. You will need to come for the PAT visit before your surgery. During this visit the nurse will draw blood and perform other tests ordered by the physician.

On the day of surgery, the pre-op nurses will prepare you by starting an IV, prepping your stomach, inserting a catheter and giving you two Alka-Seltzers to neutralize the acid in your stomach. You will sign the consents for surgery at this time. A short while before surgery, a member of the surgery team will transport you to the holding area where you will meet your anesthesia provider and your surgery nurse. A family member/significant other may go with you to the holding area. Your surgery nurse will transport you to the Operating Room. If you are staying awake, the spinal or epidural anesthesia will be placed at this time. After your anesthesia has taken effect, your nurse will prep your abdomen with a cleansing solution. Shortly after, your significant other will join you.

A respiratory therapist and a neonatal nurse will be in the Operating Room to take care of your baby. If you are awake, you will get to see your baby briefly after delivery. The baby and your significant other will leave after you have seen your baby. The baby will be weighed in the nursery. Your physician will take another 30-45 minutes to complete the procedure. Up to six family members may wait in our C-section waiting room. Additional family members may wait in your postpartum room.


After your C-section, you will be taken to the Recovery Room for monitoring and to have your pain medication regulated. Once you are alert and if your baby is stable, he or she may be brought to the Recovery Room briefly for you to see and hold skin-to-skin or breast feed, if you prefer. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. After the recovery period, you will be moved to the Mother-Baby Unit. We want this to be a wonderful experience for you and your family. If you have any questions, please contact the Surgery Nurse Manager at (662) 377-4967.


Newborn Follow-up


The goal of the Newborn Follow-up visit was started to identify problems that sometimes appear after a baby is discharged from the nursery and should be evaluated before the two-week checkup.
Most infants will be scheduled to return to Women's Hospital for a follow-up visit within one to two days after discharge. During this visit, a nurse will weigh your baby and make sure there are no feeding problems. A board-certified lactation consultant will be available for any breastfeeding concerns. The nurse will also check for signs of jaundice, and any necessary labwork will be done. This appointment will be billed as an outpatient visit. This visit does not replace your two-week well baby checkup with your pediatrician. You will need to call the physician’s office to make that appointment.


If you have any questions about Newborn Follow-up, you may contact the nurse at (662) 377-4971.