Your All-Inclusive Partner in Childbirth
We know that the labor and delivery experience can be both exciting and stressful for moms and family members. That’s why at Baptist Health System’s The Nest, 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.
We offer the following services and facilities:
- Private labor and delivery rooms designed to make you feel at home
- 24/7 OB hospitalist program
- Dedicated C-section suites
- Private postpartum suites
- Designated family parking
- Guest accommodations for your support person
- Breastfeeding support and lactation consultations
What You Need to Know About Labor Before Delivery
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.
How Do You Know if Your Water Has Broken?
When to Go to the Hospital
You know if your water breaks when you see and/or feel a gush or slow trickle of amniotic fluid from your vaginal opening. But sometimes, it can also be mistaken for urine. If you think your water broke, but you aren’t sure, call your OB/GYN as soon as possible. Your doctor can perform a test that can confirm if the fluid that leaked is amniotic fluid or urine.
Please go to the hospital as soon as your water breaks, if you’re having regular contractions in three to 10-minute intervals or if you need pain relief. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1, or go to the nearest emergency room.
A woman usually goes into labor soon after her water breaks. If this doesn’t happen, the doctor may induce (bring about labor) because the risk of getting an infection increases as labor gets delayed after the water breaks.
The Stages of Labor
Just like pregnancy trimesters, the process of labor and delivery has three stages as well. At The Nest at Baptist Health System, one of our nurses will stand by your side and keep your doctor informed of your status, whether you’re in the first stage of labor or are ready to give birth. Here are the things you can expect for each stage of labor:
- First Stage of Labor
The first stage is the longest period of labor. It’s when contractions begin to slowly open your cervix. This portion is called the latent phase, which may take hours or even days before you can be considered in an established labor. Established labor is when your cervix has opened to about 4 centimeters.
It’s recommended to eat and drink something during this stage so you will have enough energy for delivery. Additionally, meditation, breathing exercises, a warm bath and a massage may help ease some pains associated with this stage.
- Second Stage of Labor
The second stage starts the moment your cervix is fully opened until you give birth to your baby. This is when the hard work takes place. Your doctor will help you find a comfortable position to deliver your baby; possible positions include lying on your side, kneeling, sitting, etc. Having someone by your side can also help you push your baby out. However, if you’re scheduled for a caesarian delivery, these positions will not apply to you.
- Third Stage of Labor
This final stage takes place after you’ve given birth. At this time, your womb starts to contract and the placenta comes out of the vagina. You can manage this stage in two ways: active or physiological. Active management involves treatment to speed the process, while physiological management occurs naturally without involvement.
Natural Birth vs. Cesarean Delivery
During the third trimester, your doctor may begin to explain the differences between a natural birth and a cesarean delivery. Oftentimes, the mode of delivery is a personal choice. Sometimes, it’s a medical necessity.
Healthy pregnant women without risk factors for labor and delivery problems may have a natural birth as their primary delivery option. Also known as vaginal delivery, natural birth can be done with or without medical interventions (i.e., pain medication, surgical incision, breaking your water artificially, vacuum extraction, etc.). Some of the advantages of choosing natural birth as compared to a cesarean delivery are potentially shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times and lower infection rates.
In the United States, one in three pregnant women welcome their babies through cesarean delivery, also called C-section. A C-section is a major surgical procedure wherein the baby is removed from the womb through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. Most C-section births result in healthy mothers and babies, but healing may take longer for this type of delivery and it may also pose certain risks.
However, your doctor may recommend a C-section if this could be a safer option for you and/or your baby than vaginal birth. This can be planned ahead, or it may also happen if a problems arise in your attempt to deliver the baby naturally. The benefits of a C-section may outweigh the risks if:
- You are carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, etc.).
- You had a previous C-section.
- You have dangerously high blood pressure.
- You have a pre-existing condition (i.e., heart disease, HIV infection, herpes infection, etc.).
- There are problems with the baby’s position.
- There are problems with the shape of the pelvis.
- There are problems with the placenta.
- There are problems with the umbilical cord.
- The baby shows signs of distress (i.e., a slowed heart rate).
Prepare for Your Hospital Stay
Whether you’re months, weeks or days away from your big day, you can pre-register for the date of your delivery at The Nest. You just need to complete the required paperwork ahead of time by registering here. You may also call us at 866-309-2873 for a mommy-to-be tour to learn about your accommodation and other OB service options.