During Your Hospital Stay

What to Bring

For your hospital stay, you need to bring only the basics: nightgowns, a robe, slippers, a supportive bra, extra underwear and sanitary pads, toiletry articles and infant clothing. Please do not bring jewelry or valuables to the hospital. If you're planning to breastfeed, pack some breast pads and your breast pump, too, in case you have questions about its use or need to use it in the hospital. In addition, an infant car seat should be selected and already installed in the family car for the baby's first trip home.


Recliner chairs are available in every room. Ask your nurse for assistance if needed.

Nursery Security

Just as we care about your infant's safety in the car and at home, your baby's security in the hospital nursery is a top priority to all of us at Sentara. Although security policies differ somewhat from hospital to hospital, there is one general rule to remember. All Sentara hospitals maintain a strict policy concerning the transport of infants. Babies are always transported around the hospital in their cribs. Never let anyone carry your baby away in his or her arms. The exception to this is immediately after birth, when your infant is carried to the nursery - often by its father - for newborn assessment. You should also check the identification on any nurse who comes to take your baby for tests or to the nursery. At the minimum, the nurse should be wearing a hospital ID badge with a visible name and photo. If you do not see proper identification, do not hesitate to request it before you let anyone take your baby.

Immediately after your baby is born, a nurse will place two bracelets with the same identification numbers on your baby. Mom will receive a wrist bracelet bearing the same number, and most of our hospitals have a fourth bracelet available that the baby's father can wear. This bracelet system helps us make sure your baby stays in the right hands.

You must show your identification number to be permitted in the nursery. If your baby is transferred to our specialty nursery at Sentara Norfolk General or Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, we'll give you a different set of instructions.

Guidelines for Overnight Visitors

  • All overnight visitors must wear pajamas (or equivalent) during sleeping hours and must be dressed during the daytime hours - including shirt, pants and shoes. Night nurses will be making rounds in the rooms during the night.
  • All overnight visitors should remain in the room from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. to protect other patient's privacy.
  • All overnight visitors must sleep in the cot or chair provided and not in the patient's bed. Chair bed must be up and out of the way by 7 a.m. so it does not interfere with nursing care.
  • Personal articles are the responsibility of the visitor.
  • The hospital is not responsible for providing meals to the visitor. The cafeteria and coffee shop are located on the first floor where snacks and meals can be purchased.
  • Nursing staff is not responsible for cleaning the overnight visitor's area.
  • If dad is not married to mom, then he must be over 18 years old and have mom's permission to stay overnight.
  • Siblings are not permitted to stay overnight.


With so much else to think about after baby's birth, you can rest assured about one keepsake. Color photographs taken of your newborn are available from a company authorized by the hospital. Personal photography (still, digital, and video) is allowed before delivery and when the mother and baby are both stable after delivery. Audio and visual recording shall not be allowed during procedures, such as vaginal or cesarean delivery or administration of anesthesia. Photography that includes any clinical or hospital staff is allowed with the permission of the persons being photographed.

Birth Registration

Before you leave the hospital, a women's health administrative associate will visit you concerning your baby's birth registration. After you fill out and sign the forms, the hospital will file the official record of your child's birth with the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics. Part of this paperwork can be used to automatically apply for your newborn's Social Security number. The administrative associate will also furnish information about obtaining an official copy of the baby's birth certificate.


Your obstetrician, the baby's doctor, and the nurses will review special discharge instructions with you before you leave the hospital. All of this information will be given to you in the "Mom and Baby Basics" booklet. It is very important for you and your family to pay close attention to this information, to help make your baby's homecoming as smooth as possible. For a safe first ride, please remember to have your baby's car seat already installed at the time of discharge. You must have a written order by your physician to be discharged from the hospital. The discharge time is 11:00 am. Please make arrangements ahead of time for your transportation home. Following is the process for your hospital discharge:

  1. Doctor writes the order for discharge (both OB and pediatrician)
  2. Nurse completes the discharge teaching
  3. Nursery nurse must discharge the baby to the mother with teaching
  4. Baby will not be discharged to the mother until her transportation has arrived
  5. Dad loads all personal belongings, gifts and flowers into the car
  6. Make sure that the car seat is already secured in the back seat
  7. Mom is wheeled down to the front lobby (holding baby)
  8. Dad loads Mom and Baby
  9. Because of the entire coordination and education that occurs with the discharge process, this may take up to two hours for discharge to occur.

Help at Any Time

Patient Representatives are available at each hospital. They are responsible for ensuring you are satisfied with the services you receive. They are your advocates for protecting your rights as a patient and are available to assist you with any concerns you may have during your stay. The Patient Representative would like to make your stay a positive experience. If there is something that would enhance your stay, please make your Patient Representative aware. While you are in the hospital, you may contact your Patient Representative by dialing "0" for the hospital operator.

For more detailed information including visiting hours, parking and food options, view hospital information by location: