Join us for a rare inside peek at a labor-and-delivery room. Have a good look now—chances are you won’t notice much once you’re in labor.
By Emily Bloch Photographs by Lisa Franchot Special thanks to Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles
Start to finish, here’s what it looks like…
The nurses at the registration desk will likely welcome you with warm smiles, no matter how you look when you get off the elevator. Most hospitals will offer a “pre-admission” option, allowing you go in to fill out paperwork a few weeks before your due date, to avoid a bunch of scribbled signatures done in triage.
Just in case you get bored, you can always zone out to Ellen, soap operas, or…birthing DVDs?
A great place for dad and other helpers to catch a view ZZZ’s during a slow stretch.
This monitor attaches to mom via a soft, non-constricting belly band. It keeps track of baby’s and mom’s heart rate and vital signs.
Long hallways can be just the ticket. Midwives and docs often recommend getting up and moving to kick-start stalled contractions. No need to feel self-conscious as you waddle past other patients and staff—they’ve seen it all!
This may look scary, but it’s not a view most gals get. The stirrups are hidden under the bed, brought out only if you need them. Stirrups come in handy in case your doc or midwife has to do some post-delivery tear-repair. The bottom portion of the bed can drop away if you’re sitting propped-up to push. Believe us, by that point you won’t care what the room looks like.
This nifty baby scale even blows warm air, so baby doesn’t get chilly at her first weigh-in.
Baby’s first crib, swag included—blankets, diapers, wipes, wash cloths, shampoo, T-shirts, and a pacifier.
At “Good Sam,” brand-new babies are placed on their moms’ chests for skin-to-skin bonding. But if a baby needs more help getting warm or enough oxygen, the staff will quickly shuttle the infant to this resuscitation warmer. This machine gets a baby’s temperature back up where it needs to be, and it has all of the equipment necessary to resuscitate a baby struggling to breathe.
Forget the old movie standby of a huge nursery filled with crying newborns. These days, few babies end up in the nursery, because most parents want to take advantage of early bonding and nursing time. Babies might visit the nursery if they need to be warmed up in an infant isolette, or if a mom is just flat-out exhausted and needs a nap.
Doesn’t this look like the perfect rocking chair for a dad to sit and hold his new baby?
Labor-and-delivery rooms most often have a private bathroom, and, in this case, it comes with a stall shower. Some moms opt for a shower or bath to ease labor pains.
The labor-and-delivery beds morph into any position that works for you.
Your nearest and dearest gather in the waiting room until they hear the good news; or, spillover guests from your small postpartum room can hang out here until you’re able to squeeze them in for some much-anticipated baby worship.
Some hospitals also make VIP suites available to couples willing to pay out of pocket—this one is $500 a night. It has a fridge and eating area, a separate living room, and a bathroom with a bidet; you can even stay in it after the birth.
You’ll recover and rest—and get to know your baby—in a postpartum room. They’re often private, outfitted with a twin hospital bed and a reclining “daddy chair” or cot if he’s going to be staying the night. Not deluxe accommodations, but you’ll be fine. The hard part is over!