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Patient Education - Frequently Asked Questions

St. Elizabeth's Maternity FAQ'sHow do I prepare for the arrival of my baby?
At St. Elizabeth's Maternity Services Center, 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. View a list of classes we offer.

Choosing or changing a provider?
Finding the right provider and team, whether it be an obstetrician or a nurse-midwife, has been made easier through the Steward Health Care and St. Elizabeth's network of physicians. We have skilled and experienced practitioners in communities including Allston, Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Brighton, Watertown and Weston. Call 800-488-5959 to find an obstetrician or nurse-midwife convenient to you. Also, if you need to change providers from another facility or state at any point during your pregnancy, our practitioners accept transfer patients at all gestational ages. If you are transferring, please bring your complete prenatal record to your first visit including ultrasounds, blood work and any genetic testing results.

Can I tour the facilities?
Tours of St. Elizabeth's Maternity Services Center can be scheduled prior to your due date. We encourage you and your support person to take a tour by your 34th week of pregnancy. The tour will give you a first hand look at the services and facilities we offer. Tours take place on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and can be scheduled by calling 617-562-7050. If you cannot make either of these days or times, contact us directly so we can arrange a personal tour. You may also take a virtual tour of our facility by clicking here.

What if my pregnancy is high-risk?
All of our mothers and babies receive special attention, but some require more advanced medical care. Our hospitals are equipped to handle complications, including conditions such as multiple births, premature labor, gestational diabetes or premature rupture of membranes.

St. Elizabeth's is one of the few Boston-area hospitals to offer dedicated intensive care units for pregnant and delivering mothers, and for newborns.

The High-Risk Obstetrics Group at St. Elizabeth's focuses on helping women through challenging pregnancies by providing the most advanced level of specialized medical care and services. Our Board Certified physicians are highly trained to care for you before, during and after your pregnancy and to make your delivery as comfortable and healthy as possible.

Should your baby require extra attention, St. Elizabeth's Maternity Services Center houses an 18-bed Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We also maintain 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 main office phone number. 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 as well as provide care when your baby is sick is an important decision. You can ask your obstetrician for recommendations, call Steward® DoctorFinder at 800-488-5959 or click here 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.
  • Evaluate your doctor's communication skills and bedside manner.
  • 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 develop a labor and delivery plan?
A birth plan is an outline of what you'd prefer to have happen during your childbirth experience. Our physicians, nurses and midwives are committed to working with each mother on developing an individualized birth plan. 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 in some of our rooms. 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. Discuss pain control options with your doctor. This topic will be covered in detail during your childbirth preparation classes.

What happens if I need to have a Caesarean 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 Caesarean birth.

Who can be in the labor room with me?
To avoid interruption of medical care, we will allow no more than two 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 St. Elizabeth's Maternity Services Center, professional, experienced nurses will care for you and make sure your needs are met.

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.

How soon will an attending pediatrician see my baby?
Your baby will receive an immediate medical assessment and additional care if needed as soon as she or he is born. Within the first 24 hours, your baby will be visited by one of our on-staff pediatricians.

If I am in labor during regular hours, where should I go?
If you arrive at St. Elizabeth's Maternity Services Center, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., enter through the St. Margaret's Center 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 Department entrance. You will be registered and then escorted to the Maternity Services Center where a labor nurse will greet you.

Where do I park and is there valet parking?
Valet parking is available for patients at the Seton entrance Monday through Friday during peak patient hours. Valet parking is available 24/7 at our Emergency Department entrance located at the corner of Cambridge and Washington streets.

How much does it cost to park?
The medical center has one parking garage for patients and visitors located at the top of Nevins street and on the left. The garage is adjacent to the St. Margaret's Center for Women and Infants where maternity patients have many of their appointments. Special parking spots are designated and clearly marked for our expectant patients. At the time of your admission and discharge, the medical center extends to you or your driver free parking privileges in the garage. For validation, please bring your parking ticket to the admitting office upon admission and to the security office upon discharge.

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
  • Socks
  • 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 hospital 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 or 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?
The length of your stay 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 several private postpartum rooms and 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, a digital camera to take pictures of the baby for the Welcome Baby website, a special dinner for you and a guest, access to the Newborn Channel and baby care classes.

Is there Internet access?
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center offers 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 has 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 at 617-789-3000 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. Also, we require that friends and family be healthy when they visit.

Can someone spend the night with me?
One adult may stay overnight with you. Baby's 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?
St. Elizabeth's Maternity Services Center uses a state-of-the-art infant security system to ensure our 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?
St. Elizabeth's offers a team of breastfeeding experts to all mothers who deliver at our hospital. Our nursing staff and a lactation consultant are available to provide support and guidance 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
  • Private consultation appointments
  • Telephone consultations
  • Collaboration with community WIC offices
  • Breast pump arrangement assistance

For more information, contact the lactation department at 617-562-5371.

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.

Where is the cafeteria located?
The dining room is located on Seton 4 and is open Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Vending machines are located outside the dining room as well as other locations throughout the campus.

Where is the Dunkin' Donuts located?
For your convenience, a Dunkin' Donuts is located on Seton 4 near the Cafeteria.

Do you have a gift shop?
A gift shop is available for patients and visitors on Seton 4. A wide variety of items are offered including cards, books and magazines, fresh flowers, religious articles, gifts, cosmetics, baby clothes and accessories. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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 nurse visit after discharge. Please inquire about this option.


Upcoming Events & Classes

See more maternity classes here.

Take a Virtual Tour

Labor and Delivery Room at St. Elizabeth'sCall 617-562-7050 to schedule an in-person tour. Click through to learn about St. Elizabeth's Maternity Department staff, medical equipment and facility.

Meet the Team

Maternity TeamThe maternity team at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center includes experienced physicians, nurse-midwives and registered nurses.

Maternity Services

Maternity ServicesSt. Elizabeth's Medical Center offers a wide range of maternity services.

Patient Resources

Maternity Services at St. Elizabeth's Our pregnancy checklist and guide to birth certificates will help you have a successful pregnancy.

Patient Testimonials

St. Elizabeth's Maternity PatientsHear what some of our patients have to say about their time with St. Elizabeth's Maternity Department.

For more information on St. Elizabeth's maternity services, contact the Women's Health Pavilion at 617-562-7007. Or find a specific department here.

Steward Maternity Services accepts most major health insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare.

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