Pregnancy Care & Delivery

Every pregnant woman delivering at the N.C. Women’s Hospital wants to know what to expect when having a baby. This list of questions and answers will provide helpful information for a smoother childbirth experience. Please ask your care provider any questions that you may have that aren’t listed here.

Having a Baby: Frequently Asked Questions


When do I fill out the forms to be admitted to the hospital?

Your health care provider will give you the hospital pre-admission forms to complete during one of your prenatal visits. Completing those before you arrive in labor will make your admission to the hospital go more smoothly. If you have any questions call the UNC Health Care Admitting Office at 919-843-0095.

When should I come to the hospital and where should I come?

Ask your health care provider how to know when to come to the hospital and whether you should contact the physicians or midwives before coming. Unless your health care provider tells you differently, come to the N.C. Women’s Hospital following the Stork Entrance. The Stork Entrance allows women in their last month of pregnancy (36 weeks gestation) to go directly to the Labor & Delivery Unit. During the daytime (7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., Monday – Friday) enter through the N.C. Women’s Hospital lobby. During the night time (7:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m., Monday – Friday) enter through the lobby of the N.C. Children’s Hospital. Families will be offered valet parking ($6). Special short-term Stork parking spots will be offered at night and on the weekends. Stork Entrance signage is posted to assist women and families to quickly locate the elevators to the 4th floor Labor & Delivery Unit.

If you were told to enter through the emergency department, signs outside the hospital will direct you to the emergency department entrance located to the side of the N.C. Neurosciences Hospital. You will be taken by wheelchair directly to Labor and Delivery. Your prenatal records will be available to the staff there. The person taking you to the hospital can only park at the emergency department with a permit, which can be obtained at the registration desk. The car must be moved to the visitor parking deck on Manning Drive within 54 hours. You will be charged an hourly fee for parking in the visitor deck. The hospital does not pay the parking fee.

If you are scheduled for an induction of labor, a cesarean birth, or other special procedure, you should go directly to Labor and Delivery through the main entrance to the N.C. Women’s Hospital.

Who is permitted in the room with me during labor?

Mothers may choose to have up to three support people at a time while they are in labor. These visitors can switch with one another as needed. Children may visit their mother any time before or after the birth with another adult. Your labor support person can stay with you during the baby’s birth, including a cesarean birth, except in extreme emergencies. If you want anyone else present, speak with your nurse. A waiting room is located outside Labor and Delivery for family members and friends. If you wish to have your older child(ren) present during the baby’s birth, discuss it with your health care provider at a prenatal visit and register to bring your child(ren) to the sibling class and tour. An adult must accompany any child under 12 who is visiting in the hospital.

In addition to the nursing staff and your support person, you may also wish to bring a doula for support during labor. A doula is someone trained to provide physical and emotional support and comfort measures for you and your partner throughout your labor and birth. We welcome doula support for our laboring patients.

May I take pictures of the labor and delivery?

Many people like to photograph or videotape their new baby right after birth. Discuss with your support person what kinds of photos you want. We will make every effort to grant your wishes. When you arrive in Labor and Delivery, discuss your plans with the nurses and the physician or midwife caring for you. For safety, tripods, freestanding lights, and electrical cords cannot be used. Video cameras must be battery operated. The hospital staff will show you a safe place from which to photograph once the baby is born. There may be procedures or emergency situations during which you are asked not to photograph or videotape.

When are visiting hours? Will my other children be able to visit me?

Maternity Care Center visiting hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To protect all babies, we ask that only healthy people visit in the Maternity Care Center. Anyone who is not feeling well or has been exposed to chickenpox in the previous 2 weeks should not visit. We generally recommend that you have only 2 visitors in the room at any time, so you have time to learn about caring for your baby and rest before returning home.

  • An adult, other than the mother, must stay with children under 12 years old at all times.
  • Please have all visitors wash their hands before touching your baby.
  • One adult may spend the night with the new mother. Special passes are required for anyone who needs to return to the hospital between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Check with your nurse if you need this pass.

Will my baby's safety be monitored?

Safety is of the highest priority at North Carolina Women’s Hospital. Your baby’s nurse will tell you about our infant security system and the special identification worn by hospital personnel who are allowed to transport your infant to and from your room. You are encouraged to always question anyone you do not know who comes in your room or asks about your baby and to call for your nurse if you feel uncomfortable about any person.

When should I choose my baby's doctor/pediatrician?

There are UNC staff physicians and nurse practitioners in both the Newborn Nursery and in the Newborn Critical Care Center (NCCC) who will take care of your infant during the hospital stay. However, it is important for you to decide where you will take your baby for health care after you leave the hospital. Contact the clinic or doctor’s office now, before your baby is born, to find out when to bring your baby in for a first visit, and to get to know the staff. Please bring information about the clinic or doctor’s office you have chosen when you come to the hospital so we can get the baby’s records sent to his or her medical care provider.

Will my baby be able to stay in the room with me?

We encourage your baby to stay with you during your stay and encourage you to hold your baby skin-to-skin throughout your hospital stay. Babies kept near their mother feed better, sleep better, cry less, and remain healthier. Additionally, keeping your baby with you will allow you to learn your babies cues and feel more confident when going home

Will someone be able to answer my questions about breastfeeding?

Our nurses will help you with the breastfeeding. The Breastfeeding Center has a staff of board certified lactation consultants available to help you with breastfeeding in the hospital, answer your questions, and see you and your baby at the outpatient clinics if needed. The lactation consultants make every effort to see you as soon as possible. If you have breastfeeding questions or problems after you leave the hospital, call your baby’s health care provider or the hospital lactation consultants through the Breastfeeding Warmline at 919-966-4148 or toll-free outside the Triangle area at 866-428-6508.

Will my baby have any tests?

Providing your baby with the healthiest possible start is important. Newborn Screening tests can identify some problems that could keep your baby from growing up healthy. The tests are for problems that can be treated if they are found early. North Carolina law requires that your baby be tested for several metabolic disorders that are treatable, including PKU disease and certain thyroid problems. A blood test will be done to check for these problems so your baby can be treated if they are found. A hearing test is also done to check for any hearing problems, because the earlier a baby is treated for hearing loss, the better. However, as a parent, you have the right to ask any questions you may have and to refuse either of these tests. There is no cost to you for these tests.

Will the hospital give me a birth certificate for my baby?

North Carolina Women’s Hospital will send information to the North Carolina State Office of Vital Statistics for your baby’s birth certificate. To make your discharge go smoothly, complete the information sheet you receive from your health care provider before you come to the hospital.

  • Fill in as much of it as possible now and bring it with you to the hospital.
  • After your baby is born, finish filling out the form and give it to your nurse.
  • If your baby’s father is not married to you, you both must present photo identification, complete an affidavit of paternity, and have his signature notarized by one of the health unit coordinators before his name can be on the birth certificate.
  • You are encourage to think about names before you give birth, because your baby’s full name must be provided before the birth certificate can be completed.
  • Once the certificate is completed, you will read it over, check the correctness of the information, and sign the certificate before your discharge. If English is not your first language, you may wish to have an interpreter go over it with you before you sign it.
  • A copy will be given to you for your records.
  • After 10 days you can get a certified copy of your baby’s birth certificate from the Orange County Registrar of Deeds at 200 South Cameron Street in Hillsborough, North Carolina or by mail at PO Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278. You can reach the office at 919-245-2701 if you have questions. There is a small fee for a copy of the birth certificate.
  • If you request a Social Security number when you complete the birth certificate, the Social Security Administration will mail it to you in about four months. There is no charge for this.

How long will I stay in the hospital?

Most mothers and babies stay in the hospital 24 to 48 hours after vaginal birth or 48 to 96 hours after cesarean birth. Check with your insurance company prior to your hospital stay for any special information about your coverage. Your doctor or nurse midwife will decide when you will be discharged based on your condition, your baby’s condition, and your insurance company coverage.

What is the discharge procedure?

Your health care provider and your baby’s health care provider determine when each of you is ready for discharge. Discharge time is 11:30 in the morning. However, both you and your baby need to be discharged by different health care providers, so the time you are both ready to go may vary some. When you are ready to leave you and your baby will be taken by wheelchair to the main entrance of the hospital to meet your ride.

Will I need a car seat in order to take my baby home?

N.C. law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up.   Children are required to use a car seat or booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 80 pounds, whichever comes first.  Placing the shoulder belt under a child’s (or adult) arm or behind the back is both dangerous and illegal.

Keep children in rear-facing car seats until 2 years old or as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the seat.  When children outgrow their rear-facing seats they should ride in forward-facing car seats with harnesses until they reach the upper weight limit of the seat (approximately more than 40 pounds). Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, they should ride in booster seats until the seat belt fits properly (with both lap and shoulder straps).

Are there other services I need to know about?

There are many patient support programs offered by UNC Hospitals. Contact the Social Work Department 919-966-2031 or ask to speak to the social worker in the Maternity Care Center for help in accessing these programs and other assistance you may need.

  • The chaplains in the Department of Pastoral Care 919-966-4021 will visit you on request.
  • Clinical nutritionists work with each medical specialty, including obstetrics, and will be consulted if needed.
  • The Horizons Program 919-966-9803 will work with any pregnant woman or new mother who is worried about her own or her partner’s alcohol or drug use.
  • The Beacon Child and Family Program provide our family violence prevention services 919-966-9314. We provide confidential counseling for any woman of her family member who is affected by abuse or who has experienced abuse in the past.

Is there someone I can call if I have additional questions?

The nurses are here to care for you and your baby. Please feel free to speak with them if you have any concerns about your care or your baby’s care. If you need further assistance, you may also speak with the charge nurse.

Our management team is always happy to speak with you about your experiences. Whether you have concerns or compliments, please feel free to contact a member of our team:

  • Nurse Manager of Labor & Delivery 984-974-9344
  • Nurse Manager of Maternity Care Center 984-974-9252
  • Director of Lactation Services 984-974-9298
  • Nurse Manager for Ambulatory Services 984-974-8931
  • Ambulatory Services Clinic Administrator 984-974-8966
  • Clinical Director of the Women’s Hospital 984-974-9094

Providing quality, caring service is very important to the staff of the North Carolina Women’s Hospital. We look forward to taking care of you and your family at this special time in your lives.

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