Preparing for Childbirth

Patient Care Team

Our providers and Childbirth Center (CBC) staff work as a highly trained and skilled team providing exceptional and compassionate obstetrical and newborn care to our community. Our professional nursing staff has an average of 15+ years of experience. If there are any concerns at any time, please ask to talk to the Nurse Team Leader, Unit Manager or the House Manager after hours. We hope you enjoy your stay with us.

Classes

Bellingham Technical College (BTC) offers Child & Family focused classes in collaboration with the PeaceHealth Childbirth Center.  To view these course offerings, PDF iconclick here.

Resource information courtesy of Bellingham Technical College:

Model of Care

There are 10 labor rooms where moms will labor, deliver and recover unless a surgical intervention, C-Section, is required. C-Sections are performed in the CBC Operating suites; recovery is provided in our recovery room; after recovery, mom will be moved to a postpartum room. We have 12 postpartum rooms in the CBC and an additional 12 rooms on 2nd Surgical where staff are trained to take care of moms and infants. The rooms are designed for mom, baby, and one support person to stay together at all times. We encourage the support person to assist mom in partnership with the nursing team. If your baby requires closer observation, we provide a higher level of newborn care in our Special Care Nursery. 

Registration

We highly recommend that you pre-register. This will expedite your admission process, as we will have a lot of your paper work completed. This way you can just focus on having your baby. Forms can be obtained in the Childbirth Center or from your physician’s office.

Preparing for Your Hospital Stay

We invite you to join us for a tour of our Childbirth Center. You can sign up on our website or call us. You may want to bring your own pillow, slippers, CD player, clothes for yourself and baby. We provide refrigerators for any food and beverages that you want to bring in. You will need a car seat to take your new little one home. You will need to determine what physician is going to care for your baby (i.e. Pediatrician, Family Practice Physician).

Procedures

If you are scheduled for a procedure (i.e. non stress test, induction, scheduled C-Section,) please call ahead to make sure that we have a room available. There are times when we are full and have to delay non-emergent procedures. We will reschedule your procedure as soon as possible.

IT’S TIME!! to Come to the Hospital

If you can, please call the Childbirth Center (360) 738-6361 before your leave your house. This allows our staff to prepare your room for your arrival. Your nurse will help you get settled in your room, take your vital signs, monitor your baby’s heartbeat, obtain a urine sample, and perform a vaginal exam to determine your labor progress. We want you to feel comfortable asking questions; we are partners in this birth experience and we want you to be prepared and informed. If you have a birth plan, please share it with your nurse.

Labor Tips

  • You will determine who your support person or labor coach will be. This individual will be able to stay with you throughout your hospital stay.
  • Walking/Moving – there are usually no restrictions during labor; your nurse will let you know if you can’t be out of bed.
  • Comfort measures – there are multiple ways to get more comfortable during labor: you can shower, lean on furniture, use the birthing ball, walk in the halls, or utilize breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Usually labor starts on its own; however, sometimes it is necessary to induce labor. Your physician will discuss these options with you.
  • Nutrition – most women can have fluids in early labor. Clear liquids such as Jell-O, popsicles and ice water are popular. Sometimes an IV is needed. If an IV is needed, your doctor and nurse will discuss this with you.
  • Pain management – medications are ordered by your physician to help take the edge off of pain from contractions. Epidurals are also available upon request. An anesthesiologist will place the catheter and put medication into it. Please talk with your Obstetrician before you go into labor so that you have a good understanding of the epidural procedure.
  • Monitoring labor – your nurse will monitor your labor, vital signs and baby’s heart rate very closely. Vaginal exams will be done as needed to continue to assess your progress. The monitoring of the baby is done by an electronic fetal monitor. We will get a baseline that will take about 20 minutes. After that, we will monitor on an intermittent or continuous basis, depending on your labor status.

Delivery & Postpartum

  • Near delivery time, the nurse and doctor will help you find the most comfortable position. Your support person will be invited to cut the cord and the baby is then placed on mom’s abdomen to begin the bonding process. The nurse will continue to monitor vital signs of mom and baby and will frequently massage the uterus until the nurse feels that all is stable. After 2-3 hours, mom, baby and support person will be moved to a postpartum room for the duration of your stay. This could be in the Childbirth Center or on the 2nd Surgical unit.
  • Baby Medications – We are required by state law to administer Erythromycin eye ointment in your baby’s eyes within an hour of birth and to administer a Vitamin K shot to promote proper blood clotting. All medications are “baby friendly” and will not impede breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding – we encourage you to breastfeed your baby. This can begin right after the delivery; let us know what your nutrition plans are for your baby so we can help you get started.
  • You can expect to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days after a vaginal delivery and 2-3 days for a C-Section birth.
  • Circumcision – most physicians do this procedure in their office with the first newborn check up; please discuss this option with your physician.
  • Handwashing – we ask visitors and families to wash their hands before holding the newborn.

Discharge

  • Discharge time is between noon - 2 pm. Please talk with your nurse to determine when you are planning to go home.
  • Don’t forget your car seat. Washington State Law mandates that children ride in a car seat.
  • Your nurse will teach you many things to help you take good care of your baby. You will also receive teaching materials to read after you get home.
  • You can rent breast pumps for home use. Please ask your nurse for information.