Everything you need to know about your Labor & Delivery experience

Before coming to the hospital to deliver your baby, you should always discuss your birth expectations with your OB provider.  They will let you know what is realistic for your situation.

Also, don’t forget that you can take a virtual hospital tour by clicking one of the links below:

Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children virtual tour:
https://www.hhwomenandchildren.org/images/PDFs/Women-and-Children-Maternity-Tour-web.pdf

Madison Hospital virtual tour:
https://www.madisonalhospital.org/images/PDFs/Madison-Maternity-Tour-web.pdf

Now that you are here to have your baby, let’s get to the good stuff! What can you expect during your stay, and what do you need to bring with you?

After you are checked into Labor & Delivery, the fun begins. As you prepare to meet your new baby, your nursing team will be doing everything to ensure a safe arrival. Your baby’s heart rate and your contractions will be monitored by advanced fetal monitoring and continuously evaluated by your nurse and OB.

No worries, they are trained to care for anything that comes their way! Check out our blog post on pain management options while in labor.  https://ohhbaby.org/know-your-options-for-pain-management-in-childbirth/

Once baby makes his or her entrance by vaginal or Cesarean delivery, baby will be placed skin to skin on mom’s chest. If for any reason baby needs extra help at delivery, he or she will come back to mom as soon as possible. Specially-trained nursery nurses are on standby for that extra help, if needed.

We recommend that baby stay skin to skin with mom for the first hour of life (known as the Golden Hour). This will help regulate baby’s breathing, blood sugar and temperature. It also helps mom bond with baby and establish breastfeeding.

Mom, while you enjoy meeting your baby, your nurses will be rubbing your belly and monitoring your bleeding. This is the most unpleasant part of post-delivery, but we need to make sure your bleeding is controlled.

Once your bleeding is under control and you are able to stand, you and baby can be safely moved to a postpartum (Mother Baby) room. This is where you will remain for 2-3 days, depending on the type of delivery.

Baby will room-in with mom and only needs to go to the nursery for circumcision (for boys) or if they are having difficulties. Throughout your stay, our Mother Baby nurses will be providing lots of education on how to care for yourself and your baby. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

You will spend most of your time in Mother Baby feeding and changing baby and getting rest. It’s a good idea to rest when baby rests – you’ll need energy to care for baby once you get home.

Baby will have several tests done before going home. The doctors and nurses will ensure that baby’s bilirubin/jaundice level is OK and that they are eating, peeing, and pooping normally. You will need to make plans to follow up with your pediatrician within 2-3 days of leaving the hospital.

While both Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and Madison Hospital will provide any essential items for you or your baby, many women find it more comfortable to have their own care items. Here’s a check list of what to bring with you to the hospital:

  • Birth plan (contingent on medical advice and safety)
  • ID for all caregivers
  • Insurance cards
  • List of home medications
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Robe
  • House shoes
  • Nursing bra
  • Hair brush
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hair ties
  • Contacts or glasses if you wear them
  • Cell phone and chargers
  • Camera
  • Cash for vending machines
  • Portable speaker and playlist for labor
  • Going home/picture outfit for baby (we recommend a onesie because baby will still have umbilical cord stump attached)
  • Car seat (the hospital will not provide this for you). Hospital staff is not certified to secure or inspect your car seat, so be sure to have it checked prior to arrival.

This blog post is intended for uncomplicated/well deliveries. Please consult with your physician for special requests or needs.

Renee Colquitt, CRNP, NNP-BC
Renee Colquitt, CRNP, NNP-BC
Director of Perinatal Services at Madison Hospital

This information highlights the services of the HH Health System as well as current health topics important to families. The information is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. Every person is different, so please contact a physician to help you make the appropriate health care decision. HH Health System has made an effort to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of publication.


Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children
245 Governor's Drive • Huntsville, AL 35801
Driving Directions | Website
(256) 265-1000

Madison Hospital
8375 Highway 72 • Madison, AL 35758
Driving Directions | Website
(256) 265-2012

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Maternity materials order form for OB offices

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