Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare for the arrival of my baby?
At Steward® Maternity Services, an important part of our personalized patient experience is education and support before and after childbirth. Many classes are offered to help parents know what to expect, prepare for baby's arrival and be ready for baby at home.
Can I tour the facilities?
Tours of Steward maternity services centers are offered on a regular basis and we encourage you and your support person to take a tour by your 34th week of pregnancy.
What if my pregnancy is high-risk?
All of our mothers and babies receive special attention, but some do require more advanced medical care. Our hospitals can handle complications, including conditions such as multiple-births, premature labor, gestational diabetes or premature rupture of membranes.
Should your baby require extra attention, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center's Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is available to care for newborns from across the system. In addition, Holy Family Hospital and Good Samaritan Medical Center each have Level II Special Care Nurseries.
In addition, Steward maintains a partnership with Children's Hospital Boston, which provides our pediatric patients with access to the most advanced treatment available. Patients have access to in-house Children's Hospital Boston pediatricians around the clock, seven days a week.
If I have an urgent situation, who should I call?
If you have an urgent need, call your obstetrician's office. However, in the event of an emergency, call 911.
How do I choose a pediatrician?
Choosing the right doctor to give you advice about your baby's health and well-being as well as care for your sick baby is an important decision. You can ask your obstetrician for recommendations, call the Steward DoctorFinder at 800-488-5959 to find a doctor in your area.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right pediatrician:
- Start searching for a pediatrician before your baby is born to give yourself time to interview several doctors in person.
- Consider the location of the pediatrician's office. Do you want it close to home or work?
- Find out the doctor's office hours and how after-hours calls are handled.
How do I preregister?
To streamline your admission process, you should complete your hospital preregistration before your 20th week of pregnancy. The pre-registration form is a required document for mothers planning a delivery at any of our hospitals. The form is easy to fill out and can be submitted online. For St. Elizabeth's patients, call 617-779-6628.
How do I develop a labor and delivery plan?
A birth plan is a wish list that outlines what you'd prefer to have happen during your childbirth experience. Developing a plan will help you to carefully think through your choices and prepare you for the big day of delivery.
Develop a list of questions to discuss with your doctor or midwife so that you can identify and record your preferences ahead of time. Birth plan options may range from medication, vaccinations, birthing equipment, noise level, to visitors during your labor and delivery. View a sample birth plan.
What are my birthing options?
We encourage natural comfort methods that you learn about in your childbirth preparation classes. Birthing balls, squat bars and even Jacuzzi tubs are available at some of our maternity services centers. Also, extra support persons such as a birthing coach or doula are welcome.
What are my pain relief choices?
If you choose to receive pain relief, anesthesia is administered by our anesthesiologists who are available around-the-clock. There are intravenous (IV) pain medications that can be used in labor. It's a good idea to discuss pain control options with your doctor ahead of time. Your childbirth preparation classes will also talk about pain relief choices for labor.
What happens if I need to have a cesarean birth?
If the need arises to deliver your baby surgically, our surgical rooms are adjacent to our labor-delivery-recovery rooms. In most cases, your partner is permitted to join you in a cesarean birth.
Who can be in the labor room with me?
To avoid interruption of medical care, we will allow no more than three support people to accompany you while in labor. We discourage other family or friends from gathering in the hallways and will direct them to wait in the hospital's designated waiting area. Generally, one support person is allowed during a cesarean birth.
Besides my doctor, who will be caring for me?
From the time you arrive at one of Steward maternity services centers, professional, experienced nurses are assigned to care for you and make sure your needs are met. They will get to know you and your family.
Can my other child or children be with me in the room?
Discuss your wishes with your obstetrician. If he or she is in agreement, you may have baby's brothers and sisters in the room if they are age 12 or older. A responsible adult, other than your support person, who is sensitive to their needs, must remain with them at all times.
If I am in labor during regular hours, where should I go?
If you arrive at one of Steward maternity services centers, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., enter through the main entrance and register at the front desk.
If I am in labor after hours, where should I go?
If you arrive after 9 p.m., proceed to the emergency room entrance. You will be registered and then escorted to the maternity center where a labor nurse will greet you.
Where do I park and is there valet parking?
Free valet parking is available at most Steward maternity services centers.
How much does it cost to park?
Parking rates, for visitors, vary at the various Steward hospitals.
What do I bring to the hospital?
Remember to bring your photo identification and insurance card when you come to the hospital. It's best to have two bags packed - a small one for labor and delivery and a larger one for you and baby during your hospital stay.
Suggested items to pack for labor and delivery include:
- Lip balm
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Snacks for support person
- Massage tools
- Robe and slippers
- Pediatrician's name and phone number
- Extra pillows
- Phone numbers for family and friends
The bag for you and your baby might include:
- Personal care items and cosmetics
- Nightgowns, robe and slippers
- Underwear and nursing bras
- Loose-fitting outfit to wear home
- Outfit for baby to wear home
Please leave valuables such as jewelry, credit cards and large amounts of cash at home. The hospitals cannot be responsible for your personal belongings.
Be sure to have a properly installed car seat. Our staff is not trained to evaluate car seats and place your baby into them. On the day of your discharge, the person driving you and your baby home is responsible for having the car seat correctly installed and for placing your baby into it properly.
How long can I stay in the hospital?
How long you are in the hospital after your baby is born depends on your health and your specific insurance coverage. Generally, mothers stay 24 to 36 hours after a vaginal birth and 48 to 60 hours after a cesarean birth.
Are the postpartum rooms private?
We offer private postpartum rooms at a majority of our hospitals. St. Elizabeth's Medical Center does have a few two-patient suites. On the postpartum floor you will enjoy a full array of services including breast-feeding consultant and support, infant massage, access to the New Born Channel and baby care classes. Many of our hospitals also offer a digital camera to take pictures of the baby for the Welcome Baby website, and a special dinner for you and a guest.
Is there Internet access?
Steward Maternity Services offer free wireless service as well as wired connections in every patient room. If you'll be using the wired connection, be sure to bring your own cables.
Can I use my cell phone?
Cell phones can be used during your stay in your postpartum room. Each room does have a phone that can be used to place a local call at any time. A calling card is needed for long-distance calls. Friends and family may reach your room by calling the hospital's main number and then ask for your room.
How many visitors can I have in my postpartum room?
Your partner is welcome anytime throughout your stay. Except for brothers and sisters of the new baby, no children under age 12 may visit. When siblings do visit, please ensure that they are not sick and have not been recently exposed to any contagious diseases. Another adult, other than you, must be present to supervise the siblings.
While we don't recommend a specific number of visitors, we do encourage you to use this time to rest and learn to care for yourself and your new baby. We also request that friends and family all be healthy when they visit.
Can someone spend the night with me?
One adult may stay overnight with you and siblings are not allowed to spend the night. Meals are provided only for patients and guests may dine at the hospital's cafeteria.
Can my baby “room in” with me?
Infants usually “room in” with their mothers during day and evening hours. Your baby may “room in” with you at any time and for as much time as you decide. When you need time for yourself, our staffed nursery is always available for your baby.
How do I know my baby will be safe?
Each Steward maternity services center uses a state-of-the-art infant security system to ensure your baby's safety. Also, everyone who cares for you and your baby wears a hospital identification badge that includes their photo.
Will someone help me with breastfeeding?
Steward offers a team of breastfeeding experts to all mothers who deliver at our hospitals. Our nursing staff and a lactation consultant are available as you begin to breastfeed. Lactation services include:
- Prenatal breastfeeding classes and support
- Postpartum breastfeeding education and support
- Lactation rounds by a board-certified lactation consultant for patients during their stay
- Special care nursery education and support
- Private consultation appointments
- Telephone consultations
- Collaboration with community WIC offices
- Breast pump arrangement assistance
How do I obtain a birth certificate and social security number for my baby?
During your stay you will be asked to complete the forms required by the State for your baby's birth certificate, social security number and paternity. The birth certificate, issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will be mailed to you at a later date. It usually requires four to six weeks to process birth certificates and social security numbers.
What happens when I go home?
In anticipation of going home, your obstetrician or midwife will review the discharge plan. You and your newborn may be eligible for a home nursing visit after discharge. Please inquire about this option.