Before BabyLabor & DeliveryAfter Delivery
- What should I bring to the hospital?
Download our Maternity Welcome Guide to help you prepare and pack the items you need as your delivery date approaches.
- If I have a birth plan, do I need to send it in before labor and delivery?
If you have a birth plan, please review it with your provider prior to delivery and bring a copy of your birth plan with you on the day of delivery as well.
- Where can I learn basic baby-care skills like infant CPR or even how to change a diaper?
We will introduce and teach basic infant care to you and your partner during your postpartum stay, and provide you with a booklet to review and take home for easy reference. If you are interested in learning more prior to your labor and delivery experience, we encourage you to register for one of our childbirth education classes. Visit clevelandclinic.org/babyclasses for more information.
- What is circumcision and is it something we should investigate for our son?
Circumcision surgically removes the skin that covers the end of a male's penis, called the foreskin. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision." Parents may want their son circumcised for religious, social, or cultural reasons. Anyone considering circumcision should discuss the potential benefits and risks with their physician. There are pain medicines available that are safe and effective and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends their use to reduce pain from circumcision.
- When do I need to select a pediatrician for my baby?
You should have the pediatrician chosen for your baby prior to coming to the hospital to deliver. To avoid any excess costs, be sure to verify that the physician you select is covered under your health insurance plan. Akron General has a physician group through the Center for Family Medicine who can care for your baby during his/her stay if the provider you chose does not have privileges at Akron General.
Labor & Delivery
- How will I know when it is time to come to the hospital?
Unless otherwise noted by your physician, we usually follow the 5-1-1 rule. When your contractions are five minutes apart, last one minute in length and have been like this for about an hour, it is generally a good time to call your practitioner and then head into the hospital.
- Where do I go when it's time to come to the hospital?
Enter through the Main Lobby of the hospital. Turn right, pass the cafe and follow the hospital signage directing you to the OB ER and Labor and Delivery. The unit is locked and you will be assisted when you arrive at the department entrance by pushing the intercom button. Valet parking is available throughout the day for a nominal fee or parking is available in the Main Entrance Parking Deck. The main entrance doors to the hospital are open 24 hours a day.
- Does Akron General have birth balls available to use during labor?
Yes, we have birth balls and encourage their use whenever possible. A birth ball is a large round physical therapy ball that aid in progress during labor. Leaning forward over a birth ball can help relieve back pain from labor. If you're interested in using a birth ball, please let your nurse know.
- Can I listen to music during my labor and birth?
Yes, and we highly recommend that you do! Many parents find music helps to relax or energize them during labor. Please feel free to bring in your own laptop, phone or portable music device with your preferred playlists.
- Will I be able to walk and move about during my labor?
Yes. The best way to assist you with your labor is to have you remain active during that time. We encourage many position changes, massage techniques, walking, rocking in the rocking chair, utilizing the birthing ball and even showering in your private Labor and Delivery room and bathroom. However, for medical reasons, it may become necessary for you or for the baby to remain in bed. We will still assist you and your coach to change your positions often though to aid the baby during your labor.
- How soon can I have an epidural?
The decision of when to have an epidural is a collaboration between you and your providers, dependent on your labor. Generally speaking, the optimal time to receive this type of pain relief is when your cervix is dilated to at least 4 centimeters and you are in a good labor pattern, which is defined as contractions that are lasting for 60-90 seconds in length and are 2-3 minutes apart.
- Can I eat when I am in labor?
When you are in early labor and are still at home with your coach, we encourage you to eat something light such as cereal, toast, fruits or vegetables. We don't encourage heavy meals due to the fact that some women may become nauseated during their course of labor. Upon admission to the hospital, we will provide you with ice chips and Popsicles during your labor. You may also receive hydration via an intravenous solution. After the delivery of your baby, you will be able to eat a meal.
- How many people can be in the labor suite with me?
Labor and Delivery visiting guidelines state that two people can be in the labor suite with you at a time. Please check with the Labor and Delivery unit for up-to-date visitation guidelines prior to delivering.
- Can we take pictures?
Our policy states that pictures and video of mom, baby and family can be taken, but the actual birth or surgery cannot be photographed or videoed.
- What is the typical length of stay for vaginal/cesarean delivery?
Your length of stay will be discussed by you and your doctor as it can vary based on your individual delivery experience. Typically, a length of stay for a vaginal delivery is 24-48 hours and 48-72 hours after a cesarean delivery.
- My partner gets squeamish at the sight of blood. Does he have to cut the umbilical cord? Can my mother (or someone else) serve as my coach instead?
Cutting the cord by the partner may be offered but not required. Please let the nurse know your wishes. And yes, you can choose whomever you are most comfortable with to be your support person or coach during labor.
- How soon after delivery will I be able to breastfeed?
We encourage breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivery. This will generally occur at the beginning of your recovery period. Breastfeeding your baby within that first hour or two will assist you in learning and bonding with your baby. Our Labor and Delivery nurses will assist you with breastfeeding positions and help you to recognize your baby's latch at the breast to make this a great experience for you. We do encourage our couples to take advantage of our prenatal breastfeeding classes that are offered. Learn more at clevelandclinic.org/babyclasses.
- Can my husband/coach stay with me after delivery?
Yes. Because all of our postpartum rooms are private rooms, your husband/coach may stay with you in your room.
- How do I get a Social Security number for my baby?
You can request a Social Security number on the birth certificate worksheet that you will fill out when you are admitted or in labor. Akron General registers the birth certificate and an automatic request to the Social Security office for your baby’s Social Security number is filed. You may also opt to personally apply at the Social Security office, but you will need a notarized copy of the birth certificate to do so. Most parents apply for the card when they are completing the birth certificate information.
- Will my dog/cat be jealous of the new baby?
Pets, like other family members, will need to make adjustments for the new baby. Never allow your pet to have unsupervised access to your infant. Use whatever techniques have been used in the past that have been successful in introducing your pet to new people with whom the family is close and to whom the family demonstrates caring and affectionate behavior.