At The Valley Hospital, we're committed to providing a nurturing environment that offers you and your birth partner a safe and satisfying birth experience.
Each birth is a unique experience. We welcome your input into making this the most positive and pleasurable event possible. Be sure to discuss your preferences with your care provider before you go into labor so your childbirth options can be explored.
We will make every effort to respect your goals, wishes and desires for your labor and delivery. Please keep in mind, however, that labor can be unpredictable. Our primary goal is a healthy outcome for you and your baby.
Learn What to Expect During Labor and Delivery
- Childbirth classes: The fear of the unknown during labor can add to your labor anxiety and discomfort. We highly recommend attending childbirth education classes so that you become familiar with the labor process and all of its variations. You can sign up through our Family Education Classes.
- Childbirth consultation: We also recommend scheduling a series of childbirth consultations with our coordinator to discuss your birth preferences. For information, visit Childbirth Options or sign up through our Family Education Classes.
- Childbirth registration: Please take advantage of our online childbirth registration program. This will minimize the amount of paperwork to complete when you're admitted to Valley’s Center for Childbirth.
Arriving at the Center for Childbirth’s Labor and Delivery Unit
- When you arrive, you will be welcomed by staff specifically trained in holistic philosophy and techniques.
- We will care for you based on any special instructions we have received from your care provider.
- We will review your medical history and obtain any necessary consents.
- A fetal monitor will be applied to obtain baseline information; monitoring will be continuous or intermittent, depending on the baseline information and/or the orders of your care provider.
- Vital signs are taken upon admission and when needed.
- If blood work is needed, it may be drawn at this time.
- If you plan on saving your baby's cord blood, please bring your collection kit with you and give it to your nurse.
- We need to know if you are using a doula, which is a specially trained birth assistant. (This can be arranged in advance through our Center for Family Education, 201-291-6151.)
During labor, your environment influences your coping skills. You are encouraged to design your labor environment to accommodate your preferences for your optimal comfort.
This may include, but is not limited to:
- Having your birthing partner and others present at all times
- Maintaining a calm and quiet environment
- Dimming the lights
- Watching television or playing music
- Bringing in your own device (e.g., CD player, smartphone or laptop) so you may select your own music
Movement During Labor
You are strongly encouraged to get out of bed and walk during labor, unless your provider advises otherwise. This can speed the labor process and increase relaxation during contractions.
Please keep in mind:
- You should remain out of bed as much as possible and may choose to walk, stand, sit in the rocking chair, or shower.
- Birthing balls are available.
- If you choose to have an epidural, you may change your position in bed for comfort, and assume some positions that will facilitate the birth of your baby.
Staying Hydrated During Labor
Maintaining adequate hydration is essential for you and your baby’s well-being. Depending on the orders of your care provider, your options may include:
- Ice chips and/or drinking clear fluids (water, Gatorade, juice, etc.)
- The placement of a saline lock (a port placed in the arm) so you may be disconnected from the IV to walk
- Receiving fluids intravenously (you will need this if you are receiving an epidural, antibiotics, Pitocin or pain medication)
Minimizing Discomfort During Labor
Steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort caused by strong contractions in childbirth include:
- Relaxation/breathing techniques/massage
- Motion/mobility/positioning/sitting on a birthing ball
- A warm shower
- Use of our hydrotherapy tub
- "M" technique and the use of essential oils provided by trained staff
- Complementary care offered by our holistic team
- Have a birth doula attend your labor and delivery
- IV medication or other alternatives as ordered by your care provider and given by the nurse
- Epidural anesthesia, ordered by your care provider and administered by our 24-hour on-call anesthesiologist
- When you are ready to push, your nurse will provide options and instructions based on your specific needs.
- You may use a variety of positions, including a birthing stool, side-lying, squatting, hand-knees or birthing bar.
- A mirror is available to view the birth of your baby.
- Your baby will be placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth for optimum bonding.
- In most instances, your birth partner may cut the umbilical cord.
- Footprints and identification bracelets are applied while your baby is on your chest.
Cesarean Section Delivery
As part of your Childbirth Options, we offer a gentle C-section at Valley. We make every effort to ensure that this is a special delivery for you and your partner:
- Spinal or epidural is the anesthesia of choice so you may be awake for the delivery.
- Your partner is welcome in the operating and recovery room.
- Should you desire, a mirror is available to view the birth.
- Your partner may trim the umbilical cord while your baby is on the warming table.
- Depending on your condition and/or the condition of your baby, your baby will stay with you and your partner while in the operating and recovery rooms.
Recovery After Childbirth
Immediately after delivery, your recovery period will include time to bond as a new family.
During this period:
- Your baby will stay with you.
- Breastfeeding will be initiated at this time, if you are choosing to breastfeed.
- Your baby will be placed on your chest for "skin to skin" time, as that will help to keep your baby warm and help your baby transition to the outside environment.
- You and your baby will be assessed appropriately.
- Visitors may come in for a short visit during your recovery period.
- Pictures are welcomed and encouraged.
- Your baby will be weighed, measured and assessed by a mother/baby nurse and then bathed.
- You will all then be transferred to mother/baby as a new family.
Your Hospital Stay After Childbirth
- Your baby will remain with you in your room during your entire hospital stay.
- You will participate in your plan of care by reviewing a daily care sheet with your nurse.
- All nurses are trained to assist with breastfeeding services if you choose to breastfeed.
- Lactation consultants are available for special circumstances.
- You will be discharged from the hospital in 48 hours if you have a vaginal delivery, or 3 overnights if you have a cesarean section.
Postpartum Hemorrhage Safety
Postpartum hemorrhage is a true medical emergency and the leading cause of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. A woman with postpartum hemorrhage could bleed to death in a matter of minutes. As part of its commitment to patient safety, Valley is a member of the New Jersey Statewide Post-Partum Hemorrhage Collaborative, an initiative of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).
Our Mother-Baby units have adopted the use of a safety cart that allows nurses and physicians to quickly access the items needed to treat a postpartum hemorrhage, eliminating the wait time of running and searching for items. The cart also includes a step-by-step guide for preferred treatment and has role cards with clearly written responsibilities for each team member. The cart can be brought right to the bedside or outside of the patient's room for quick access.