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Triage/Labor and Delivery 
 

If you think you are in labor, or if your water breaks, call your doctor or midwife.  He or she can provide guidance on when you should come to the hospital. 

If you are coming to the hospital in labor, you can pull up to the main entrance off of Bramhall Street and leave your car in one of our “temporary” parking spaces.  A parking attendant will take care of moving your car. Or, a parking attendant will watch your car until you are able to return to move it to the garage.

If you are coming to the hospital for a scheduled cesarean section, to have your labor induced, or to have another planned procedure, you may park in our convenient Congress Street parking garage.  Directions to the heated connector that brings you into the building will be located in the parking garage elevator. Upon entering the connector, proceed past the reception desk and bear left. Then proceed down the corridor until you reach the lobby on your left.

The first place you will be brought to when you arrive at the hospital is the Birth Center. At the Birth Center we will examine you and ask about your medical history.  After admission, your doctor or midwife and your nurse will discuss the plan of care with you.  Your care providers will check on you during your labor, discuss any changes in your care plan, and assist you with utilizing comfort measures to manage labor.                     

Labor Support

Family and friends are welcome to visit you at your discretion during your labor.  Your support person should be able to give you gentle encouragement and help you feel comforted and confident.  In the case of a non-urgent Cesarean birth, one support person may be with you in the operating room.

Comfort During Labor and Delivery

If you're like most women, the pain of labor and delivery is one of the things that worry you about having a baby. This is certainly understandable, because labor is painful for most women. 

It's possible to have labor with relatively little pain, but it's wise to prepare yourself by planning some strategies for coping with pain. Alleviating your anxiety about pain is one of the best ways to ensure that you'll be able to deal with it when the time comes. To reduce pain during labor, here are some things you can start doing before or during your pregnancy: 

Regular and reasonable exercise (unless your health care provider recommends against it) can help strengthen your muscles and prepare your body for the stress of labor. Maine Medical Center offers a prenatal yoga class that can help prepare your mind and body for managing pain during labor. Click here to learn more about this class.

If you and your partner attend childbirth classes, you'll learn different techniques for handling pain, from visualization to stretches designed to strengthen the muscles that support your uterus. To learn more about our childbirth education classes, visit our childbirth education webpage.

Other ways to handle pain during labor include:

  • Hypnosis
  • Yoga 
  • Meditation
  • Walking
  • Massage or counterpressure
  • Changing position
  • Taking a bath or shower
  • Distracting yourself by counting or performing an activity that keeps your mind otherwise occupied  

Pain Medications

A variety of pain medications could potentially be used during labor and delivery, including analgesics and epidurals, depending on the situation. Click here to better understand the role anesthesiology can play as part of the labor and delivery process. You'll want to review your pain control options with the person who'll be delivering your baby. Find out what pain control methods are available, how effective they're likely to be, and when it's best not to use certain medications.

If you want to use pain-control methods other than medication, make sure your health care provider and the hospital staff know by including this in your birthplan.

Remember, too, that many women make decisions about pain relief during labor that they abandon — often for very good reason — at the last minute. Try not to confuse your ability to endure the pain of childbirth with your worth as a mother. Your best bet is to educate yourself about all of your options for pain relief to make a choice about what's best for you and then to be flexible about that decision.