Whether this is your first baby or your fourth, we want to make your birth experience easy, seamless and memorable. We look forward to supporting you and your family through this life-changing experience. Below are answers to the most common questions we receive about labor and delivery and beyond.
How and when do I register for my hospital stay?
You should pre-register online, ideally when you are between 20 and 24 weeks pregnant. Please have your pediatrician selected prior to pre-registering. If you do not pre-register, you will need to complete the registration process upon arrival before you can be admitted.
Why do I need to have a pediatrician selected before I go to the hospital?
Many pediatricians will visit your baby within 24 hours of birth, while you are still in the hospital. We’ll let your pediatrician know when your baby arrives. It’s also important so that we can promptly send your baby’s records to the pediatrician upon discharge. If you need help choosing a pediatrician, you can search online or call us at (925) 952-2887 and we’ll be happy to help.
What should I bring to the Birth Center?
Less is more, and we highly recommend that you label all your belongings to reduce the chance of any items getting lost.
Can we bring a camera and tripod to the birth?
We welcome hand-held cameras. However, for safety reasons, tripods are not allowed in labor rooms or operating rooms. Please bring extra battery chargers, as we may not be able to plug in devices for you.
What can I expect when I arrive to deliver?
Upon arrival, a staff member will greet you and bring you to a room where you will be evaluated to see if it’s time for you to be admitted. Once admitted, we’ll take you to your private birth suite.
What if I have specific ideas about what I want during my labor and delivery, like a birth plan?
It’s good to start thinking about your birth preferences early in your pregnancy. We will make every effort to honor your wishes. However, your doctor or midwife and the rest of your healthcare team will strongly encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on what they think is safest for you and your baby. We recommend that you download and complete the birth preferences checklist and share it with your doctor or midwife during your prenatal appointments, as well as with the nurses upon arrival.
What do I do when I go into labor?
Call your doctor or midwife, who will give you instructions on what to do next.
Where do I go when I’m in labor?
Go to the Labor and Delivery entrance at our Walnut Creek Medical Center, located next to the Emergency Department, off Ygnacio Valley Road. You’ll see signs there for short-term Labor & Delivery parking; your partner will need to move your car to our parking garage as soon as possible after checking in. Download driving and parking instructions.
What pain management options does the hospital offer for delivery?
We offer a variety of pain management options to help make your delivery comfortable, including a variety of low intervention options so that childbirth can be more fully experienced.
For low intervention, we offer breathing / relaxation techniques, position changes, showers, birthing balls, and wireless monitoring to support mobility.
For cesarean section, we offer epidural anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Our anesthesiologist will meet with you personally to assess which type of pain relief is best for you.
How many support people can I have with me during labor?
Besides medical staff, you may have your partner and up to four other people in the delivery room. Should you require a cesarean section, one person may stay with you during your procedure and recovery period directly after the surgery.
Can I bring my other child(ren) to the birth?
If you plan on having your child(ren) attend your birth, please have an adult (other than your support person) available to attend to any needs of your other child(ren). Children may not be left unattended in the Family Waiting Room without adult supervision.
Can my family call and receive information about my labor?
Your privacy is not only important to us, but it’s required by law. Therefore, we are unable to provide any information about your condition over the telephone.
What happens to my baby right after delivery?
We follow the World Health Organization’s recommendation that the umbilical cord should not be clamped earlier than necessary. Delayed umbilical cord clamping is usually performed approximately 1-3 minutes after giving birth, unless the newborn needs resuscitation (help with breathing or circulation). Delayed cord clamping allows more blood to transfer from the placenta to the newborn, which may improve the iron storage in your newborn for up to six months after birth.
We also place your newborn directly on your chest/abdomen and encourage you to breastfeed your baby during the first hour, if possible. After the first hour, your nurse will give your baby an eye ointment to protect against infection, as well as a vitamin K injection to assist with blood clotting and a Hepatitis B vaccine. If you have questions regarding these treatments, we encourage you to discuss them with your baby’s pediatrician prior to arriving at the hospital.
What can I expect once in the Mother-Baby unit?
After your newborn arrives, you will be moved to a private room along with your partner and your baby. Your baby will stay in your room with you at all times to promote bonding. We encourage ongoing skin-to-skin contact with your baby to help facilitate your bonding as a new family. During your stay, you’ll also receive breastfeeding support from our experienced nursing staff, including board-certified lactation consultants for help with more challenging breastfeeding issues.
Will my partner and I be able to room with our newborn after delivery?
Absolutely! Except in special circumstances, all newborns room-in with their mother, who may also choose to have one support partner over the age of 18 years stay in the room, too. Our Mother-Baby rooms offer all the comforts of home, with showers to relax in and pull out couches so your partner can be at your side during your entire stay with us. However, your other children cannot stay overnight, and so we ask that you please plan accordingly.
How long should I expect to be in the hospital?
Typically, those who deliver vaginally stay for 1-2 days, while those who have a cesarean delivery generally stay 2-4 days. However, your doctor ultimately determines the length of your stay. Discharge time is typically between 11AM and 1PM. Please remember that state law requires you to have an infant car seat installed in your car before you to leave the hospital with your baby.
What are the visiting hours at the Birth Center?
Visitors are welcome between 9AM—9PM. Visitors should enter through the main entrance, where they’ll need to show a photo ID to get their visitor badge. For the safety of the babies, please keep any ill family members at home. This includes anyone with colds, flu, fevers or a runny nose. No children under the age of 12 are allowed to visit unless they are siblings of the newborn.
Can visitors bring flowers and balloons?
We welcome flowers, but due to severe allergies, latex balloons are not allowed at the hospital. We suggest that your visitors bring Mylar balloons instead.
How can family members contact me while I’m staying in the Birth Center?
Family members or friends can call the hospital main line at (925) 939-3000 and either ask for Labor and Delivery or ask for you by name.
Are there any security considerations I need to be aware of?
For the safety of our mothers and babies, our entire Birth Center is a locked unit. All visitors, including support persons, need to be buzzed in by a staff member. Our employees all wear photo ID badges. Get to know your nurse and look at the ID cards. Don't feel embarrassed to ask for proper identification! We also use an infant banding security system to further ensure your baby’s safety.
How do I get a birth certificate for my child?
You need to have your baby’s name chosen within 24 hours after delivery. Our birth certificate secretary will visit you prior to discharge. They will help initiate the paperwork for your baby’s birth certificate and submit it to the County for processing. It typically takes a few weeks for the local vital records office to process birth certificate applications. Visit Contra Costa County Health Services to find out how to obtain a certified copy.
What will I be sent home with?
Before being discharged from the hospital, your nurse and doctor will review instructions with you. You’ll also receive a special gift, along with information about valuable support resources available to you once home.
Where can I learn about and sign up for post-birth education and new parent support groups?
You can view and sign up for classes and support groups online or by calling (925) 941-7900. Our Muir Mommies facilitated groups, which are broken out by baby’s age from 0-12 months, fill up quickly. We encourage you to sign up by the end of your second trimester.
What breastfeeding support services do you offer?
We’re proud to be the only hospital in Contra Costa County to receive international recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly® birth facility, demonstrating our commitment to providing the best possible breastfeeding support for mothers and their babies.
From our breastfeeding support line and support groups to private appointments with board-certified lactation consultants, our experienced staff is here to help you with whatever your breastfeeding challenges may be, both inside and outside the hospital. For more information, please contact Lactation Services at (925) 952-2777.