Labor & Delivery

What to expect before, during and after you give birth

Welcoming Baby

When you’re ready to welcome a new baby into the world, our Birth Center team at Anna Jaques Hospital is here to provide exceptional care.

You can expect advanced, around-the-clock care from our expert team.

  • An anesthesiologist is available to help manage your pain during delivery.
  • A neonatologist is available to deliver specialized services if your baby needs extra care.

Our Birth Center

The Anna Jaques Birth Center offers 12 all-private rooms to new moms and their partners. You can expect top-quality care and personalized attention close to home. Our patients rate us in the 90th percentile for patient satisfaction in Press-Ganey surveys.

Here’s why:

  • Personal birth choices that meet your needs.
  • Our elective delivery rate before 39 weeks is zero.
  • Expert, compassionate nursing care for you and your baby during your stay.
  • Overnight accommodation for your partner or support person.
  • Classes and support groups help you prepare for your baby’s arrival.
  • Anna Jaques is a baby-friendly hospital recognized by the World Health Organization and UNICEF for our promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Birth Center & Neonatal Care Center

Personalize Your Birth Plan

At Anna Jaques, you have choices when planning your birth experience. We embrace a family-centered focus so you can give birth in a warm, nurturing environment surrounded by your family.

We offer doctors, midwives and many types of birthing supports:

Birthing balls: To relieve pressure during labor, you can use a large, comfortable, soft ball to sit on or across.

Doula care: A doula labor and childbirth coach may assist you in the hospital during your labor and childbirth.

Family friendly cesarean section: We strive to make your C-section a more natural and family-centered event.

Water therapy: You can labor in a whirlpool tub of warm water with soothing lighting. Water therapy helps decrease pain, encourage dilation and reduce tearing during birth. Your nurse monitors your baby at regular intervals. You can combine water therapy with other pain relief methods. Your baby is not born in the tub.

Pain Management

You have a variety of options for managing your pain during labor. Our anesthesiologist is available 24/7 to provide the right pain relief for you. Options include epidurals and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

C-section & VBAC care

Anna Jaques Hospital offers advanced C-section and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) births.

If you need a C-section to safely deliver your baby, our obstetrical team is on-site and ready to provide the most advanced care. And if you’ve previously given birth by C-section, you can plan a vaginal birth with consultation and approval from your physician. Our VBAC success rate is 77 percent.

High-Risk Obstetrical Care

We offer the highest level of care for high-risk pregnancies. A maternal-fetal medicine specialist is on-site to provide advanced care if you and your baby need it.

Your Support Person

When you give birth at Anna Jaques, we consider your partner or spouse to be your primary support person unless you choose someone else.

  • Meals: Your support person can bring food from home, purchase food in the cafeteria, order from our room service menu or order take out. The Birth Center also provides a nourishment center stocked with snacks that you both can access. We provide a free celebratory meal ticket to your support person.
  • Sleeping: We encourage your support person to stay with you overnight. All rooms are equipped with a couch or sleeper chair.
Safety & Security Information

The health, safety and security of you and your baby is our top priority. The Birth Center:

  • Follows nationally recommended nurse-to-patient ratios. In active labor, the ratio is 1-to-1. During delivery, two nurses and your obstetric provider are present. After birth, one nurse cares for two to three mother-baby couplets.
  • Is a locked unit. Your baby wears an electronic band linked to our infant security system.
  • Nursing team is certified in fetal monitoring, baby resuscitation and regularly attends mock drills and continuing education specific to maternal-child nursing.
  • Provides 24/7 neonatology coverage and a level 1B nursery staffed with nurses experienced in caring for sick babies.
  • Uses a central fetal monitoring system visible to all doctors, midwives and nurses.

We encourage you to keep your baby with you in your room. Our team helps you get to know your baby and learn techniques for caring for your baby. Research shows mothers and babies who sleep near each other get more rest than those sleeping separated. Research also shows that spending time together, especially skin-to-skin, allows for an easier transition to home.

Visiting Hours & Policies

Get information about our guidelines for visitors to the Birth Center.

Breastfeeding Support

Our lactation consultants teach you how to breastfeed your baby in the hospital and provide ongoing support once you are at home.

Neonatal Care

Learn how we care for your newborn child at Anna Jaques.

Maternal & Postpartum Care

Immediately after delivery of your baby, we work hard to ensure your health and comfort. We manage your pain and explain any additional care you may need.

We encourage you and your family to nap or rest. We promote Family Rest Time between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm daily. We suggest no visitors at this time. It is up to you.

Once you return home, our nurses check in with you to answer any questions you may have about the following:

  • Birth control options
  • Breastfeeding
  • Perineal care
  • Postpartum depression and anxiety
  • Self-care at home

Frequently Asked Questions About Labor and What to Pack

What is Labor?

Labor is the work that your body does to give birth to your baby. Your uterus contracts. Your baby descends, and your cervix opens. You push your baby out into the world.

What Do Contractions (Labor Pains) Feel Like?

When they first start, contractions can feel like cramps during your period. Sometimes you feel pain in your back. Contractions feel like muscles pulling in your lower belly. As labor goes on, the contractions get stronger, closer together and more painful.

How Do I Time My Contractions?

Time your contractions by counting the number of minutes from the start of one contraction to the start of the next contraction.

What Should I Do When the Contractions Start?

If you’re in labor at night and you can sleep, please try to sleep. If contractions start during the day, follow these tips to care for yourself at home:

  • Don’t panic. You can do this. Your body was made for this. You are strong.
  • Drink water. Not drinking enough water can cause false labor (contractions that hurt but do not open your cervix). If this is true labor, drinking water will help you have the strength to get through your labor.
  • Eat. Labor is a big event. It takes a lot of energy.
  • Get a massage. A strong massage on your lower back may feel very good. Getting a foot massage is always good.
  • Take a nap. Get all the rest you can.
  • Take a shower or a bath. This will help you relax.
  • Walk. If the pains are real labor, walking will make the contractions come faster and harder. If the contractions are not real labor, walking will make them slow down.
When Should I Call My Doctor or Go to the Hospital?

It’s time to head to the hospital when:

  • Contractions are so painful you cannot walk or talk during one.
  • Contractions have been five minutes apart (or less) for at least one hour.
  • Your water breaks. (You may have a big gush of water or just water that runs down your legs when you walk).
Are There Other Reasons I Should Call My Health Care Providers?

Any time you are very concerned about something, you should call. Call your health care provider or go to the hospital if: 

  • Blood soaks through your clothing or runs down your legs.
  • You are leaking green fluid.
  • Your baby has not moved for several hours.
  • You have sudden, severe pain.
  • You start to bleed like you are having a period.
What Should I Bring to the Hospital?

You may want to pack:

  • Comfortable and supportive bras
  • Eyewear or contact lenses and solution
  • Extra socks
  • Flip flops or slippers
  • Medications you currently take
  • Outfit to wear home (clothing from 6–7 months of pregnancy may fit you best)
  • Pajamas and/or robe
  • Snacks, gum, hard candy or lollipops
  • Toiletries and grooming items
What Should My Support Person Pack?

Your partner or support person may want to bring:

  • Camera
  • Cash/credit cards for takeout
  • Comfortable clothes/slippers
  • Contact lenses, solutions and/or eyeglasses
  • Device and phone chargers
  • Identification for the birth certificate process
  • Routine medications like Tylenol
  • Snacks
What Should I Bring for My Baby?

Be sure your car seat is ready to go. Other items to pack for baby include:

  • Baby book
  • Blanket
  • Car seat and base, properly installed
  • Nail file
  • Outfit to wear home
  • Sleep sack or swaddle blanket so staff can show you how to use it
  • Sweater set, hat and booties
  • Undershirts
What Does the Hospital Provide?

For moms, our Birth Center offers basic toiletries, disposable underwear, linens and pads. If you are breastfeeding, we provide bra pads and lanolin cream. Breast pumps are available, or you can bring your own.

For babies, we offer baby wash, combs, diapers, linens and wipes. You are welcome to bring your own items from home.

Is It Ok to Use My Cell Phone, Laptop or Tablet?

You are welcome to bring personal electronics from home and use them. Please do not leave these items unattended in your room. Anna Jaques offers free Wi-Fi access. No password required.

Contact Us

Conditions We Treat

Our maternal fetal medicine specialists and obstetricians provide expert care for all pregnancies and related conditions.

  • High-Risk Pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Prematurity
  • Routine Pregnancy

Easier Birth Preparations

From balance and gravity to movement, this guide provides helpful tips on how you can prepare for a potentially easier birth process.