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Labor and Delivery: What to Expect

mom and baby holding hands

The Johns Hopkins Birthing Center offers true mother/baby couplet care with no separation, provided both mother and baby are healthy. Learn more about giving birth at the Johns Hopkins Birthing Center:

For Women in Labor

  1. You will be instructed by your physician to come to the hospital. At this point, you are probably in active labor.
  2. You will come straight to the Johns Hopkins Birthing Center, located on Zayed 8. Do not register in the main lobby.
  3. One of our nurses will assess you in a triage room. A doctor will also examine you, and if are in active labor, you will be transferred to a labor and delivery room (LDR). If you are not in active labor, you will probably be sent home.
  4. Your labor process will be monitored in the LDR. You will wear a belt that sends signals to the electronic fetal monitor. All of our nurses are certified in electronic fetal monitoring. Your doctor will check on you periodically to monitor your progress.
  5. If you should want pain relief, anesthesia is always on call. At our Center, we respect those patients who request an unmedicated delivery. You should discuss your birthing plans with your obstetrician prior to labor. PLEASE NOTE: We do not offer aqua/water births.
  6. You are allowed 2 to 3 visitors at a time; NO children can be present for delivery. If you need to make special arrangements, please speak to your doctor. Please consult our Visitor Policy.
  7. All newborn exams are performed at the mother’s bedside, as is newborn care like bathing, shots, eye drops and hearing tests. About two hours after delivery, you will be moved to your postpartum room, where you will stay with your baby until discharge.
  8. After a vaginal delivery, women recover in the hospital for up to 48 hours. We do support early discharge if you have excellent support in your home.

For Scheduled and Emergency C-sections

  1. If you are scheduled for a C-section, or if you should unexpectedly need one due to a pregnancy complication, the Birthing Center staff is committed to providing you with a safe and healthy delivery.
  2. If your C-section is scheduled, you will be asked to come to the hospital the day prior to your delivery for laboratory blood work and a brief physical exam. You will receive a phone call from a labor and delivery staff member to verify the date and time of arrival. You will be given a scrub kit to use in the shower both the day before and the morning of your C-section. This helps prevent infection. When you arrive the day of surgery, you will be admitted to a pre-operative waiting area. Your family member (1) will be allowed to wait with you. PLEASE NOTE: We do our best to honor the times assigned; however, many events in obstetrics cannot be planned. Your baby will be delivered as soon as possible and your nurse will keep you informed.
  3. The Birthing Center has three fully equipped operating rooms and a pediatrician is present at all C-sections. Further, you will still have true mother/baby couplet care. Your family member and your baby will be with you at all times.
  4. In the unlikely event that your child requires additional care after birth, he or she will be taken immediately to the NICU and attended by a top pediatric intensive care team.
  5. Women who have undergone a C-section recover in the hospital for up to 72 hours. We allow early discharge if you have excellent support in your home.


Postpartum Care

  1. Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. In your postpartum room, you are allowed up to five visitors at a time. Each visitor must present their own government-issued photo ID. Siblings of the newborn are allowed to visit if they are at least two years old. Children older than 12 are allowed to visit, escorted by an adult who is older than 18. We STRONGLY discourage visitors who have a cough or a fever. Please see our Visitor Policy.
  2. We have a supportive and extensive breastfeeding program with five board-certified lactation consultants on staff (IBCLC). They are available to answer any and all of your questions regarding breastfeeding.
  3. We also offer breast pump purchases to patients that deliver with us at Johns Hopkins.
  4. If you have any further questions, please contact the Lactation Office at 410-502-3221.
  5. A breastfeeding mothers' support group meets twice weekly.This service is free and offers support to breastfeeding MOMS and NURSING BABIES! All are welcome, registration is not required.
  • Every Tuesday morning on Zayed 8 West from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Please sign in at the Security Desk at the Zayed 8 Lobby and have a seat. Security will notify the Lactation staff when you have arrived.
  • Every Friday morning at the Schaffer Auditorium in the Bloomberg Children's Center, Main Level, from 9:00am to 11:00am. Please have a seat and the Lactation staff will be with you shortly if not already present.