Treatment Offered At
- Maternity Care at Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach
- Maternity Care at Orange Coast Medical Center
- Maternity Care at Saddleback Medical Center
Our BirthCare Centers located in Long Beach and Orange County are designed for your comfort and safety. Your entire birthing experience takes place in a private labor, delivery and recovery (LDR) suite, complete with a bathroom and shower. Each suite is equipped with a state-of-the-art birthing bed that allows you to deliver in the position that makes you most comfortable. These spacious rooms allow the mother, partner or coach and her family and friends (up to three) to visit and celebrate the birth in bright and airy surroundings. We offer the very latest in technical and developmental care techniques and encourage parental involvement in all aspects of care so you can spend as much time as possible with your baby. Our staff will keep you informed every step of the way and will ensure that you and your family are comfortable and are taken care of during this important time. If you are planning to have a medicated delivery or cesarean section our anesthesiologists are on staff and in the hospitals at all times providing quality care.
What to Bring to the Hospital for Delivery
You should have a small bag, containing the personal articles you wish to bring to the hospital packed and ready to go. These may include:
- Pajama tops or short nighties (remember to buy appropriate nursing gowns if you will be breastfeeding).
- Robe and slippers (washable).
- Shower cap.
- Two bras (remember nursing bras, if you’re nursing—they are available at one of our breastfeeding supply stores).
- Clothing to go home in (remember to bring some of your early maternity clothes; you probably won’t fit in your skinny jeans just after giving birth).
For Your Baby
- Car Seat—learn about Child Car Seat Safety.
- One outfit to go home in.
- One blanket.
- One T-shirt.
What to Expect Before and During Labor
Is it Time? Your bags are packed and you’re ready to go. You’re feeling contractions. Still, true labor may not have yet begun. Sometimes, trying to tell the difference between true and false labor can be difficult, even downright discouraging, and every women’s experience is different. Be patient, and know the signs of true labor. These include:
- Strong contractions that are getting closer together.
- Contractions are felt “all over” rather than just in the abdomen.
- Bloody show: Loss of mucus plug – a thick brown mucus discharge that may be mixed with blood.
- Membranes or “water” may rupture.
There are three stages of labor. The first begins with the onset of contractions and ends when the cervix is dilated to 10 centimeters. The second stage involves delivering the baby and the third stage involves delivery of the placenta and membranes, or "afterbirth".
Ready, Set, Not Yet
These last weeks of pregnancy sometimes seem to go on forever. Contractions may get stronger at times and make you wonder if this could be it. Sometimes it is frustrating to come to the hospital with these labor pains, only to be sent home with your baby still inside rather than in your arms. True labor contractions will cause changes in your cervix. Contractions may stop or your labor may be in its early stages. This pre-labor period is helping the body get ready for the big day, but not yet. We recommend that this early pre-labor period is best spent in places you find comfortable. In the mean time, if you are finding it difficult to concentrate on anything but the birth of your baby, here are some tips to help keep you comfortable through the hours, days or weeks while you are waiting.
If labor has stopped or slowed down…
- Sleep or just rest.
- Snuggle with or be close to your partner.
- Eat or drink something.
- Go for a walk.
- Get a foot, hand, shoulder or back massage.
- Go shopping.
- Go to a movie or rent the funniest video you can find.
- Go to your favorite room in your home and slowly relax each part of your body.
- Remind yourself that you will not be pregnant forever.
The length of labor is different for every woman. In general, a woman’s first childbirth will be her longest. After the first baby, labor is usually shorter. About half of women will have a labor that lasts at least 12 hours. Here are some ways to cope with labor as contractions get stronger: Coping with Labor As contractions get stronger you may need added ways to cope with labor:
- Go for a walk.
- Rock in a rocking chair.
- Take a shower or bath.
- Slow dance.
- Relax between contractions.
- Change positions often.
- Find someone to tell you what a good job you are doing.
- Try slow deep breathing.
- Drink water, juice or other clear liquids.
- Use lip balm on dry lips.
- Watch a movie.
- Hold hands with someone you love.
- Suck on a sour lollipop or popsicle.
- Cool yourself with a washcloth dipped in ice water.
- Use the bathroom often.
- For lower backache, try ice packs, heat or switch between hot and cold. Use a tennis ball, rolling pin or doorknob for counter pressure.
- Congratulate yourself for being such a patient new parent.
- Think of the baby coming down and out to meet you soon.
MemorialCare supports both Lamaze and medicated deliveries. If you choose epidural pain relief during labor and delivery or require a cesarean section, our anesthesiologists are on staff and in the hospitals at all times to provide quality care.
For more information about the stages of labor and what to expect, sign up to attend an educational class.
Arriving to Deliver Your Baby
Arriving to Deliver Your Baby
We recommend that you and your partner make plans on how you will reach the hospital when you are in labor. Know the drop off area, where to park, and how to arrive to the BirthCare Center inside the hospital. A few weeks before your due date, keep your gas tank full—you may not have time to buy gas when in labor. Plan for emergency back-up transportation, in case you and your partner are not together when labor begins. When you arrive at the hospital to deliver your baby, remember to go to the BirthCare Center rather than the Emergency Department.
Select the hospital you will be delivering at for driving direction and parking information:
MemorialCare Center for Women
Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach
Long Beach Medical Center
Orange Coast Medical Center
The Women's Hospital
Saddleback Medical Center
Mother-Baby Couplet Care
To enhance bonding, we practice mother-baby couplet care. A single nurse cares for both the mother and baby together as one unit. Studies show that infants in their mother’s presence cry less, have a lower blood pressure, and have a more stabilized temperature, pulse and respiration rate. Caring for mother and baby together promotes coordination and continuity of care, improves communication between family and caregivers, and enhances maternal learning and confidence.
Just for Partners
What to Expect on the Day of Delivery
The partner’s role in childbirth has changed since the old days of the doctor entering the waiting room to announce, “It’s a…” Today, most partners are involved in attending prenatal appointments, childbirth classes and the birth. At the BirthCare Centers, you’re encouraged to participate in the birth. A homelike atmosphere is provided in the spacious labor, delivery and recovery suites. In the days after delivery, partners visit with mom and baby as often as you like.
As the due date nears, partners need to be as prepared as possible. When the big day does finally arrive, things are guaranteed to be both exciting and hectic! Here is some important information to get you ready for delivery day.
In the weeks before:
- Be sure to take a tour of the hospital with your partner. Familiarize yourself with where to park and how to get to the BirthCare Center.
- Find out how to get to the hospital cafeteria for a snack or meal, and where the gift shop is located in case you need supplies or flowers.
- Keep your gas tank full—you may not have time to get to the gas station if your partner is in labor.
- Have your cameras (video, digital and still) charged and ready to go. Bring extra film and batteries, just in case.
- Plan for emergency back-up transportation, in case you’re not around when your partner goes into labor.
- Be supportive of your partner. She will probably have trouble sleeping, getting comfortable in general, and may experience contractions called Braxton Hicks before actually going into labor.
- Be patient and listen to her concerns. Your support during the final countdown will be important to her.
- Print out and fill out the Partner's Checklist.
Maternity & Newborn Visiting Hours
Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Our maternity unit nurses are committed to providing a personalized service and have advanced training to help identify potential concerns early and respond quickly to high-risk needs. On occasion, before birth or immediately after birth, your baby may need specialized medical care. It’s reassuring to know that unparalleled neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are just footsteps away staffed with specially trained nurses, board-certified neonatologists, respiratory therapists, dietitians and lactation consultants who can provide your newborn with exceptional and compassionate care.
Postpartum Care & Newborn Nursery
All of our spacious postpartum rooms are private or semi-private with large windows (varies based on location). Our highly trained maternity nurses provide on-site education from breastfeeding to baby care, as well as support for feedings and diapering. We also provide postpartum baby care while you rest during your stay. To help you prepare for bringing your baby home we offer a personally tailored education class for new mothers. Our newborn nurseries are open 24 hours, seven days-a-week, for your comfort, safety and security. On-staff nurses assist in caring for your child when you are in need of extra rest.