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Labor & Delivery

Learn What to Expect Throughout Your Experience

Even if you feel like you’re in labor, it’s a good idea to time a few contractions before calling your doctor or midwife, so you're able to describe what you are experiencing. If you are instructed to go to the hospital:

  • Between 5 am and 8 pm, go directly to Labor & Delivery on the 3rd floor of Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura.
  • Between 8 pm and 5 am, come in through the Emergency Department, where you will be checked in.

A nurse will examine you, evaluate your baby’s heart rate, determine how much your labor has progressed, and consult an obstetrician to determine whether to admit you. It’s very common for women to experience symptoms of labor without being ready to deliver, so please don’t be disappointed if you are sent home.

During Labor

Our Labor & Delivery staff are committed to your comfort and safety throughout your labor and delivery. Wherever possible, we try to accommodate the preferences you specified in your Birth Plan, including the comfort measures you request to help you cope with the discomfort of labor. These may include:

  • Breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Visualization or use of a focal point
  • Therapeutic heat or cold
  • Position changes, walking, squatting, use of a birth ball
  • Low lighting
  • Music
  • Massage and therapeutic touch
  • Aromatherapy (no smoke/flames or diffusers allowed)
  • Hydrotherapy (shower or tub)

Continuous labor support is extremely beneficial, and we encourage you to bring your spouse, partner, or other support person. Your support person will be given a wrist band to identify them while they are in the hospital. You are also welcome to have a doula. We can supply a mirror if you would like to see your baby enter the world. Intravenous pain medications and epidural anesthesia are available according to your personal preference, birth plan, and physician or midwife’s recommendations.

You will be in a Labor & Delivery room throughout the labor and delivery process and for a few hours after your baby’s birth. Your Labor & Delivery Nurse will dry your baby off with a clean blanket and place your baby skin-to-skin on your breast. (If you have a cesarean section, skin-to-skin contact will be initiated in the operating room as soon as it is safe to do so.) We routinely delay newborn procedures, such as weighing, measuring, and administering newborn medications, to allow time for bonding and breastfeeding. Because newborns take time to regulate their body temperature, we also hold off on bathing them for 8 to 12 hours unless an earlier bath is medically necessary.

Unless one of you needs specialized care, you will not be separated until the first feeding is complete. Skin-to-skin bonding benefits both mother and baby.

  • Babies cry less, are better able to control their body temperature, have a lower incidence of low blood sugar, and are more successful at breastfeeding, which can decrease the chance of the baby developing jaundice.
  • Mothers enjoy a distraction from discomfort, are more confident caring for their baby, experience less anxiety, and start becoming attached to their baby, which is believed to reduce the risk of postpartum depression.

We ask that any visitors in the delivery room other than your husband or partner only stay for a few minutes after delivery so that you can have some privacy, bond with your new baby, and provide skin-to-skin contact. Once your baby has been fed, he or she will be weighed and measured and you, your baby, and your husband or partner will all be transferred to your postpartum room. Visitors can reunite with you all at this time.

Don’t worry if breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally right away. All our maternity nurses are trained to provide breastfeeding support and education. We also have RN Certified Lactation Counselors/Educators dedicated to providing individualized assistance with any specific breastfeeding issues or needs.

Mother-Baby Unit

About two hours after delivery, you and your baby will be moved to our Mother-Baby Unit to begin your postpartum stay. The Mother-Baby staff will check on you often and give you tips on caring for your newborn, as well as for yourself as you recover. The Unit schedules daily bonding time between 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm when mother and baby may rest and bond uninterrupted. During this time, hospital staff will not enter your room unless requested by you or medically necessary. Visitors other than your banded significant other will not be allowed unless specifically requested.

Once you are in the Mother-Baby Unit, you are free to take videos, and of course, photographs. You can also purchase a newborn photo or souvenir birth certificate as mementos of your baby’s birth.

Going Home

Hospital discharge typically occurs around 11 am. In preparation for leaving the hospital, please arrange for family or friends to take you and your baby home. It’s perfectly normal to experience physical discomfort and mood swings and even be unexpectedly weepy. Give yourself time to recuperate and rely on your loved ones for help and support. If you are feeling increasingly anxious, sad, blue, or depressed, please call your physician or midwife for further guidance.

Advantages of Breastfeeding

The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk help to fight disease. Breastfed infants have lower rates of gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Some research also shows a lower rate of type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia, SIDS, and certain skin rashes in breastfed infants.

Breastfeeding has advantages for mothers as well. It can save you money and time – no formula to buy, bottles to wash, or nipples to disinfect. As you breastfeed and strengthen your bond with your baby, your body releases oxytocin. This hormone stimulates the flow of milk and has a calming effect on you. Breastfeeding also has a beneficial effect on your health. It is linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression in women.

Your early milk, called colostrum, comes in small amounts to match your infant’s tummy size. It is rich in nutrients and antibodies. By the third to fifth day, the colostrum changes to mature milk to meet the needs of your growing baby. It has just the right amounts of fat, sugar, water, and protein. Since human breast milk is made for human babies, it is much easier to digest than formula that is made from cow’s milk.

We recommend and encourage exclusive breastfeeding, but we also understand that not every woman can, or wants, to breastfeed. We support each individual parent’s feeding decisions for their baby. To help you and your baby adjust to breast feeding, we offer the following:

  • Breastfeeding Education: For further information on breast feeding, download and print this form to refer to at home, in English or Spanish.
  • Private Lactation Consultations: during your baby’s first year, you can meet at the New Parent Resource Center with one of our lactation experts for assistance. If you delivered at Community Memorial Hospital, there is no charge, and only a nominal fee if you delivered elsewhere. Call 805-948-BABY (2229) to schedule your consultation.
  • Newborn Feeding Log: This handy form will help you keep track of how well your baby is feeding and digesting. Download it here.
  • Breastfeeding Support Group: Moderated by an RN with expertise in breastfeeding, this group is a great way to share breastfeeding successes and tips and meet other new moms. The group is held at our New Parent Resource Center. Learn more and register here.