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 5:30am and 9:00pm 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 9:00pm and 5:30am 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

We will provide sanitary supplies for you and diapers and wipes for your baby to last throughout your stay. You may want to bring comfortable clothes for you and your support person, and an outfit and blanket for your baby when going home. You should bring shampoo and other personal toiletries.

Meals are provided for the patient during her stay; however, many people like to bring extra items such as favorite snacks. A smaller cooler may be brought in as there’s limited space to refrigerate items on the unit.

Music, aromatherapy and other items that aid relaxation are also welcome (no candles, please). Labor and post-partum rooms have wireless computer access. Please bring any docking stations or chargers.

Please leave your medications at home as our pharmacy will provide them for you.

Breastfeeding supplies are available in our Boutique. For more information call 540-689-3320, hours are by appointment.

Labor Companions

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

Mother/Baby Room

Approximately two hours after birth, you and your baby will be moved to the Mother/Baby area for postpartum recovery. These rooms are located within the Family Birthplace, so you are still close to the nursery and under the watchful eye of the maternity nurses. These rooms are all private, with a sleep sofa for your partner or other visitors.

Pain Management

Pain can change your mood, cause sleep loss and keep you from being active. You have a right to expect us to manage your pain well. It is up to you to tell your nurse about any pain you are experiencing so that we may give you the best care possible. We offer a wide variety of comfort measures to utilize during your stay. You are welcome to bring your own music and aromatherapy (no candles please) for relaxation purposes.

Visitation Hours

We strongly encourage the significant other to remain with the mother at all times to provide comfort and support, so we have furnished each room with a pull out sofa or recliner. 

We recognize that having a baby is a very important event in your life, and want you to be able to share your joy with family and friends. You may choose up to three coaches to stay with you at any given time during your labor and birth experience.  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 postpartum unit, you may receive visitors at your discretion. Your stay with us is relatively short and you will want time to rest and recover from the birth experience. You will also need time to bond with your new baby and spend time learning to feed and care for your infant. If you have older children at home, your stay in the hospital offers you a chance to get to know your newest baby and rest before going home.

You may wish 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. 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). Visit from other children We are not prepared to care for other children while the mom is an inpatient. They are welcome to visit but there are not accommodations for overnight stays.


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.

Rooming-In and Nursery

We encourage rooming-in, because this time immediately after birth is a critical time for mother/baby bonding. However, we also offer nursery care. If you need a break or extra rest, the maternity 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.


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.


Our nursing staff is dedicated to helping you recover physically from birth while teaching you how to care for yourself and your new baby. 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. 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.


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.

Infant Security

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. For more information or questions about the Sentara RMH Family Birthplace, please call 540-689-3300 or e-mail us.