During Your Hospital Stay
Arriving at the Sentara RMH Family Birthplace
Whether or not this is your first baby, all expectant moms are waiting for just the right time to come to the hospital. For some, the time will be easy to determine, while for others there may be uncertainty. Your obstetrician or midwife will give you guidelines for your arrival at the hospital or you may call Sentara RMH at 540-689-3380 and speak with a labor and delivery nurse.
Where Do I Go When I'm In Labor?
During the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. enter through the main hospital entrance (parking Lot A) and proceed directly to the 3rd floor, Family Birthplace, and ring the doorbell.
During the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. enter through the Emergency Department (parking Lot E)and proceed directly to the 3rd floor, Family Birthplace, and ring the doorbell.
Please use the Emergency Department (parking Lot E) if: You’re experiencing ANY kind of medical emergency or are in severe pain.
If in doubt, always go through the Emergency Department.
What to Bring
Packing a bag in advance will help you get out the door quickly and easily when you are actively in labor. Some items to consider when packing your bag:
- Comfortable clothes for you, your birth partner and a going-home outfit for your new baby. Consider packing a robe, slippers or socks to make you feel more comfortable while you are recovering. Pack a nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed.
- Toiletries. Pack shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush, lotions, hair ties or hair clips, lip-balm, make-up, etc. Pack toiletries for your birthing partner, too.
- Don't forget the camera, along with extra batteries, chargers for your phones, or a docking station. Free Wi-Fi is provided in the hospital.
- Feel free to pack snacks. You are welcome to bring a small cooler to keep in your room. We offer a full service cafeteria and a coffee shop in the lobby.
- An item to use for focus during labor.
- A list of medications and vitamins you are currently taking.
- Your valid state ID, your insurance card, any hospital paperwork or documentation you will need.
- If you plan to use a doula make sure to have their contact information.
- A car seat and appropriate outer wear for the baby to wear when leaving the hospital. To learn how to properly install your car seat before the birth of your baby please contact, Ariel Rodriguez to schedule your appointment by calling 540-810-0527 or emailing Ariel.Rodriguez@harrisonburgva.gov.
What not to bring:
- Don’t worry about bringing your medications. Our pharmacy will provide what you need while you are a patient.
- Diapers, wipes and sanitary supplies for you and the baby will be provided throughout your stay. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide cloth diapers.
- We provide peanut pillows for positioning of patients who receive an epidural and birthing balls in all of our birthing rooms.
Breastfeeding supplies are available in our Boutique. For more information call 540-689-3320, hours are by appointment.
We welcome your labor support companions. In order for us to give you the best possible nursing care, we have guidelines for you to consider. Following are the ways a labor companion can be helpful:
- Sit with the patient
- Help with labor position changes
- Relaxation and massage
- Breathing/ focus/ various other comfort measures
- Constant reassurance and support
- Read to or talk with the patient
- Answer the telephone
- Write down questions for the doctor and answers for the family
- Help with getting patient in and out of bed with nurse’s approval
- Help with walking in halls
- Help patient to bathroom with nurse’s approval
- Advocate the Mom’s birth plan to care providers
- Limit the distractions in the birthing room to create a calming environment
- Get ice, snacks and refreshments for mom and partner
- Keep other family members and friends informed of patient progress per patient request and permission
- Offer explanation and support of the necessity of a medical intervention outside of the patient's wishes.
Following are the things a labor companion may never do:
- Perform vaginal exams
- Adjust or tamper with IV lines, fetal or maternal monitors, any clinical equipment or epidural catheters
- Administer any medication –herbal, tinctures, etc.
- Hinder the medical team from proceeding with a medically necessary intervention
We encourage you to speak with your care provider or one of our certified childbirth educators when taking one of our classes to learn more about how a labor companion may participate in your birth.
Mother/Baby Rooming in and Nursery
We realize the benefits of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and encourage it when possible in the birthing room and operating room. After birth, you and your baby will be moved to a private room in the Mother/Baby wing for postpartum recovery. These rooms are located in the Family Birthplace, so you are still close to the nursery and under the watchful eye of the maternity nurses.
We encourage rooming-in because the time immediately after birth is critical for mother/baby bonding. However, if you need a break or some extra rest, we also offer respite nursery care. Our nursery nurses will gladly watch over your baby in the nursery until it is time for feeding. Once you are ready to room-in again, we will bring your baby right back to you.
Our nursing staff is dedicated to helping you recover physically from birth while teaching you how to care for yourself and your new baby. At Sentara RMH Medical Center, we use the Mother-Baby Care Model, which means that one nurse cares for both you and your baby in your postpartum room. We encourage 24-hour rooming-in for your baby, as this offers the most opportunity for you and your partner to learn about newborn care and feeding. The nurses are available to answer your questions and will help you learn to feed and care for your baby. One support person is welcome to stay overnight with you in your postpartum room.
We know having a baby is a very important event in your life, and we want you to be able to share your joy with family and friends. While you are in labor, you may designate up to three primary support people. If you wish, coaches may switch/trade-off during this time. A Doula, if you choose to use one, may be present in addition to your coaches.
Once you are on the Mother Baby unit, family and friends are welcome to visit unless you tell us otherwise. For your safety, visitors must check in at the front desk of our secure unit. Healthy children may visit the Mother Baby unit if the delivered mother so desires. For the safety of the child and the care of other patients, children under 12 must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult (other than the patient).
Your stay with us is relatively short, and you will want time to rest and recover from the birth experience. In the weeks before your delivery, you might want to consider who you would like to visit you while you are in the hospital. You may want to ask that only your closest family and friends visit you in the hospital, and that co-workers and other visitors wait until you are home to visit.
Length of Stay
After a vaginal birth, most women will stay with us for two nights; and for a Cesarean birth, the average is three nights. At the doctor's discretion, some women leave sooner and some stay longer.
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.
More than 75 percent of our new mothers breastfeed their babies. Lactation Consultants are available to new mothers every day. Our Lactation Consultants can also provide one-on-one outpatient lactation consults to assist you and your baby with successful breastfeeding after you've gone home. If you have questions or need assistance, call our Lactation Consultant line at 540-689-3320. For breastfeeding supplies, visit our Boutique. This boutique offers an array of items for breastfeeding moms and their babies.
We encourage checkout by 1 p.m. on the day of discharge. At this time, you will also receive important information on caring for your baby, yourself, bonding, safety, and community resources for new parents. 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 or car seat base already installed at the time of discharge. Please consider having a car seat safety check prior to the birth of your baby. Car seat safety checks are available by appointment at 540-810-0527.
Numerous security procedures and devices are in place throughout the Sentara RMH Family Birthplace to make sure that your baby is safe. In addition, your baby's picture will be taken and kept on temporary file. You will receive infant security instructions upon admission to labor and delivery.