How Do I Know if I'm in labor?
Your physician or midwife will help you determine if you are in labor. Active labor is usually when your contractions last one minute, come three to five minutes apart, and you are three to four centimeters dilated. You may need to call your provider for other reasons as well, such as if you think you broke your water, you have bleeding, or you are not feeling the baby move. If you think you may be in active labor, do not eat a large meal; take clear liquids only.
When Should I Go to the Hospital?
If you think you are in active labor, contact your physician or midwife, who will instruct you on what to do next.
Instructions for when you come to Yale New Haven Hospital on York Street to deliver:
If you will be arriving between 6 am and midnight, use the main entrance of Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.
If you will be arriving between midnight and 6 am, use the emergency entrance for Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.
Where is "Day-of-Delivery" Parking?
As a special benefit to maternity patients at Yale New Haven Hospital, each family, upon the patient's admission, will receive one complementary voucher for valet parking at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital. This voucher is valid for the patient's entire stay, as long as the vehicle is not moved. Once the vehicle is removed, the standard daily parking fee will be charged upon each return. This fee is calculated on a 24-hour period based on the time of parking.
For patients at Yale New Haven Hospital who need parking on the day of discharge, complimentary valet parking is available in the circular driveway in front of Yale New Haven Children's Hospital for up to 45 minutes. The discharge personnel will provide you with a 45-minute validation. There are no additional parking charges for patients who have retrieved their vehicle from valet and need additional time to load the vehicle. If you need additional parking time beyond 45 minutes, the standard daily fee will be charged. Please see the valet captain for more information.
Where Do I Go When I Arrive?
Once you're inside Yale New Haven Hospital, stop at the Admitting Office located off the Children's Hospital entrance. We'll check your admission information and place a plastic patient identification bracelet on your wrist. A staff member will bring you to the Labor and Birth suite.
What Happens in the Birthing Room?
Once you're brought into your birthing room, your nurse, doctor or midwife will discuss the progress of your labor. We encourage fathers and partners to actively participate in childbirth and can invite them into the room with you.
Your nurse will check your blood pressure, pulse, breathing, contractions and your baby's heart rate. Your nurse will also explain how the baby is monitored and help you with breathing techniques and positions. If you are anticipating natural childbirth, your nurse and support person will help with your relaxation techniques. You can walk, rock, sit, shower, lie on your side—do whatever is most comfortable!
You may be examined internally to see how wide the cervix has dilated. Once the cervix has dilated to 10 cm, the second stage of labor will begin.
How Can I Manage Pain During Labor?
Each woman's labor is unique to her. Long before labor begins, you should familiarize yourself with pain relief options available during childbirth. Consider attending a childbirth preparation class, which can be helpful to understand the options.
The amount of labor pain you feel will differ from that felt by other women in labor. It depends on factors such as your level of pain tolerance, the size and position of the baby, strength of uterine contractions and prior birth experiences.
Some women achieve adequate pain control with breathing and relaxation techniques and supportive measures provided by labor and delivery nurses. Others choose pain relief during labor and delivery to help them experience a more comfortable childbirth. Our nurses, doctors and midwives are trained in a variety of natural techniques and medicinal interventions.
Labor pains can be greatly eased by walking, then resting between contractions in a glider or ball in your birthing room.
Pharmaceutical options are also available for relieving pain during labor, including intravenous pain medication, regional analgesia, epidurals and inhaled nitrous oxide.
Remember, how to deal with pain during childbirth is your choice. Speaking to your physician or midwife ahead of time will help you consider the options that are best for you.
What about Visitors?
At Yale New Haven Hospital, we understand the importance of visitors. We ask that you read the following visitation policy, so you and your family can have a supportive, pleasant, and safe environment.
Visiting The Obstetrical Triage Area
The triage area is for testing and evaluating expecting mothers. Because of the type of exams, visiting is limited.
- To make sure our patients are safe and their privacy is respected only one support person is allowed in the room. We will give an identification band to the support person. He or she will need to have the band when entering the Labor and Birth unit.
- Children are not allowed to visit the triage area.
Visiting The Birthing Room
We believe that each birth is a celebration. Expectant moms may choose up to three friends or family members to be support persons and share in this special event.
- The patient may name up to three friends or family members as support persons when she arrives to the unit. These three support persons will be the only visitors allowed in the Labor and Birth rooms.
- Identification bands will be given to the three support persons. The bands cannot be shared and are necessary to enter the Labor and Birth unit.
- Brothers and sisters 12 years old and older, and watched by an adult, may visit and will be included in the three named support persons. All other children will be welcome on the postpartum unit.
- People who won't be with the mother during birth may wait in the Family Waiting Room. We ask patients to tell other family members and friends to wait at home for news of the birth.
- Other family members/visitors may visit new moms after the baby is born.
- We ask the support persons to stay in the Labor and Birth room as much as possible to lower the number of people in the halls and protect the privacy of all patients.
- Sometimes we ask the support persons to wait in the Family Waiting Room.
Visiting For a Cesarean Birth
Mothers who need to have a Cesarean Section will give birth in an operating room. After the birth we will move them to the Recovery Room.
- Only one support person is allowed in the Operating Room.
- To respect the privacy and dignity of all new moms, only two of the named support persons may visit in the Recovery Room (PACU).
- Children will not be allowed to visit in the Recovery Room. Children and other visitors are welcome to see mother and baby after they are moved to the postpartum unit.
Request For Additional Support People
Under special circumstances, you may be able to make arrangements for additional support people by emailing a Patient Services Manager.
Learn more about after your baby arrives