We know that the labor and delivery experience can be both exciting and stressful for moms and family members. That’s why at the Nest at Baptist Health System, we’re here to help you feel safe and comfortable from the moment you step into one of our labor and delivery hospitals in San Antonio to the time you go home with your newborn. Everything you may need during childbirth is right here, including access to a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) should the circumstances call for it.
As you approach your due date, you may see some signs that you’re about to start the labor experience. For example, you may notice that your baby has moved lower into your pelvis, also known as "lightening." If you go to a pelvic exam in the latter part of the third trimester, your OB/GYN may also see changes in your cervix which may suggest that your body is getting ready. Some women report that they feel “energized” and have the impulse to clean, cook or do something before their labor experience; this is called "nesting." Here are some other signs that labor is approaching:
Your water breaks
You have contractions that become stronger at shorter intervals
You have cramping and lower back pain that does not go away
You have a bloody (brown or red) mucus discharge
If you experience any of these signs, call your doctor or midwife immediately, even if it happens weeks before your due date, as you may experience preterm labor. Your doctor or midwife will then decide if it's time to go to The Nest at a Baptist Health Hospital or if you can go to their clinic first.
Labor progresses in three stages, though each stage is unique to each mother.
Stage 1: Stage one occurs in two parts and marks the time when a woman's body prepares for birth.
Part 1 (early labor): Contractions begin during early labor, but they may be mild and infrequent. They become closer and stronger over time. Early labor may be experienced at home with guidance from your provider.
Part 2 (active labor): Contractions are now close together with little to no space in between. The cervix dilates to ten centimeters and the baby is ready to be born.
Stage 2: In this stage, you will push the baby through the birth canal in time with your contractions. Your baby is almost here!
Stage 3: Within five to ten minutes of birth, you will experience more contractions to help you deliver the placenta. This marks the end of labor and delivery and the beginning of the postpartum phase.
Everyone feels differently about managing pain during labor and delivery, and we support the choices you make for your birth experience. Though we can't predict how your labor will progress, it can be helpful to come up with a plan for the type of pain management you'd like to try while at the hospital.
Natural remedies: If you're opting for a drug-free childbirth, there are many ways to manage pain without medication. Breathing techniques, water therapy, changing positions and partner massages can be helpful in relaxing you and distracting you from pain.
Narcotics: These medications can help to dull pain without removing sensation entirely. These drugs may affect baby's breathing at birth and can't be given close to delivery. They may also cause grogginess and/or nausea.
Epidural: A catheter is placed into your epidural space and medication is administered to decrease feeling in your lower body. This method of pain relief takes approximately 20 minutes to take full effect and can be left in for hours to administer additional doses. You will be unable to leave the bed once an epidural has been placed.
Spinal block: Unlike an epidural, a spinal block is a single injection that works immediately to decrease feeling in the lower half of your body for one to two hours. This method is usually used in c-sections.
Learn more about what to expect during labor and delivery, including a breakdown of what you'll experience once you arrive at the hospital.
No matter which Baptist hospital you choose, our labor and delivery suites come equipped with everything you'll need, from dimmable lighting and large windows to abundant storage and spacious visitor areas.
Take a 360º virtual tour of our facilities now to see labor and delivery rooms at all our locations.
When it comes to packing your hospital bag, it's best to have things ready around a month before your due date. After all, only around five percent of babies are born on their actual due date. Packing early gives you enough time to prepare for the unexpected, but should things move faster than planned, you can rest assured knowing the Nest will provide you with all essential supplies for you and your newborn.
The Nest at Baptist Health System provides gowns, socks, underwear and postpartum supplies including pads, ice packs, pericare supplies, wraps and more. We'll also provide diapers, wipes, blankets, hats and bathing supplies for your new arrival.
Need help packing your bags? Download our free hospital bag checklist below.
Babies don't always stick to the plan. If your little one decides he or she is ready to arrive at 3:00AM, you may be wondering if your doctor will even be awake to help you deliver. That's why at the Nest at Baptist Health System, we have 24/7 OB hospitalists on site to give you peace of mind. Always on-site, our OB Hospitalists support your doctor or midwife and your birth plan, providing care when your physician is not immediately available.
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