The Birthing Center (Labor & Delivery) is designed for comfort and safety. The entire birthing experience takes place in a private labor, delivery and recovery suite, complete with a bathroom and shower. Each suite is equipped with a state-of-the-art birthing bed that allows patients to deliver in the position that is most comfortable. These spacious rooms allow the mother, partner or coach and her family and friends (up to three) to visit and celebrate the birth in bright and airy surroundings.
The BirthCare Center offers the very latest in technical and developmental care techniques and encourages parental involvement in all aspects of care so parents and loved ones can spend as much time as possible with their baby. The BirthCare Center care team keeps patients informed every step of the way and ensures the entire family is comfortable and taken care of during this important time. If planning a medicated delivery or cesarean section (C-section), anesthesiologists are on staff and in the hospital at all times to provide quality care.
If the need for a C-section arises, there are dedicated operating rooms down the hall from Labor & Delivery just for C-sections.
- BirthCare Surgery Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach
- High-Risk Maternal and Newborn Transport Program
- Hyperemesis Program
- Lactation Clinic, Breastfeeding Support and Supply Store at Miller Children’s
- Newborn Programs
- Maternal & Infant Home Health Program
- OB/GYN Clinic
- Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program
The BirthCare Center at Miller Children’s & Women's Hospital Long Beach is a dedicated center for expectant women, providing compassionate, quality health care during pregnancy. The BirthCare Center offers a comprehensive program of research, diagnosis, treatment, educational resources, maternity classes, and individual and family support programs all under one roof.
Miller Children's is unique since it has a maternity center under the same roof as a full-service children's hospital. This means an in-house maternal fetal subspecialist, neonatologist and anesthesiologist, as well as clinical laboratory services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to patients. This ensures the highest quality care for maternity and neonatal patients throughout the region, and both mom and baby get the specialized care they need.
- Wide range of prenatal classes.
- High-risk obstetric team widely recognized for exceptional clinical outcomes.
- Expertise with multiple births.
- Private labor and delivery suites.
- Low cesarean rates.
- Multilingual staff.
- Dedicated BirthCare Surgical Center.
- HIV prophylaxis program.
- Perinatal/neonatal bereavement services.
- California Children’s Services (CCS).
- Complete pediatric sub-specialty services.
- Educational programs for nurses and physicians.
No matter what tools you choose to use during labor and delivery, when deciding on a birth plan or the incorporation of a doula into your birth experience, the goal is to foster a collegial, interprofessional, and collaborative relationship.
Birth plans were originally introduced as a tool to enhance communication between doctors, nurses, and patients. Over time, there was a shift and now they tend to focus more on what a woman will accept and what she will not accept in labor and the postpartum period. If you choose to utilize a birth plan, keep in mind that it should be considered a tool to help explain your perspectives and facilitate the most satisfactory birth for you, your partner, and your baby, while employing a collaborative approach with your healthcare team. For a birth plan to be as successful as possible, it is important to have it reviewed by your health care provider before your hospital admission as well as by your nurse upon admission. Even though your healthcare team works together to provide optimal care, having a birth plan cannot control all outcomes. It is important to have flexibility with the process.
Doulas can contribute positively to the birth experience of a family. Doula services can help you prepare for and support you during childbirth and the postpartum period. They are considered a vital member of your care team and recognized by The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) as such. AWHONN specifically supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support. While the use of a doula is not required, if you do choose to utilize one, it is up to the woman to provide. Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach encourages a collaborative approach between the patient, doula, and medical team. While the doulas’ role does include providing you with continuous physical, emotional, and informational support there are a few things that doulas are not expected to do:
- Speak for you
- Make decisions for you
- Project their values/goals upon you
- Interfere with medical treatments
- Perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams, adjust monitors and/or assess fetal heart tones
- Diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions, and/or interpret medical advice
- Discourage your choices, including the choice to use pharmacologic pain relief
Is it time? Your bags are packed and you’re ready to go. You’re feeling contractions. Still, true labor may not have yet begun. Sometimes, trying to tell the difference between true and false labor can be difficult, even downright discouraging, and every women’s experience is different. Be patient, and know the signs of true labor. These include:
- Strong contractions that are getting closer together. Contractions are felt “all over” rather than just in the abdomen.
- Bloody stool: Loss of mucus plug – a thick brown mucus discharge that may be mixed with blood.
- Membranes or “water” may rupture.
There are three stages of labor. The first begins with the onset of contractions and ends when the cervix is dilated to 10 centimeters. The second stage involves delivering the baby and the third stage involves delivery of the placenta and membranes, or "afterbirth."
Ready, Set, Not Yet
These last weeks of pregnancy sometimes seem to go on forever. Contractions may get stronger at times and make you wonder if this could be it. Sometimes it is frustrating to come to the hospital with these labor pains, only to be sent home with your baby still inside rather than in your arms.
True labor contractions will cause changes in your cervix. Contractions may stop or your labor may be in its early stages. This pre-labor period is helping the body get ready for the big day, but not yet. We recommend that this early pre-labor period is best spent in places you find comfortable. In the mean time, if you are finding it difficult to concentrate on anything but the birth of your baby, here are some tips to help keep you comfortable through the hours, days or weeks while you are waiting.
If labor has stopped or slowed down…
- Sleep or just rest.
- Snuggle with or be close to your partner.
- Eat or drink something.
- Go for a walk.
- Get a foot, hand, shoulder or back massage.
- Go shopping.
- Go to a movie or rent the funniest video you can find.
- Go to your favorite room in your home and slowly relax each part of your body.
- Remind yourself that you will not be pregnant forever.
The length of labor is different for every woman. In general, a woman’s first childbirth will be her longest. After the first baby, labor is usually shorter. About half of women will have a labor that lasts at least 12 hours. Here are some ways to cope with labor as contractions get stronger:
- Go for a walk.
- Rock in a rocking chair.
- Take a shower or bath.
- Slow dance.
- Relax between contractions.
- Change positions often.
- Find someone to tell you what a good job you are doing.
- Try slow deep breathing.
- Drink water, juice or other clear liquids.
- Use lip balm on dry lips.
- Watch a movie.
- Hold hands with someone you love.
- Suck on a sour lollipop or popsicle.
- Cool yourself with a washcloth dipped in ice water.
- Use the bathroom often.
- For lower backache, try ice packs, heat or switch between hot and cold. Use a tennis ball, rolling pin or doorknob for counter pressure.
- Congratulate yourself for being such a patient new parent.
- Think of the baby coming down and out to meet you soon.
Miller Children’s & Women's supports both Lamaze and medicated deliveries. If you choose epidural pain relief during labor and delivery or require a cesarean section, our anesthesiologists are on staff and in the hospitals at all times to provide quality care.
For more information about the stages of labor and what to expect, sign up to attend an educational class.
What to Bring
You should have a small bag, containing the personal articles you wish to bring to the hospital packed and ready to go. These may include:
- Pajama tops or short nighties (remember to buy appropriate nursing gowns if you will be breastfeeding)
- Robe and slippers (washable)
- Shower cap
- Two bras (remember nursing bras, if you’re nursing — they are available at our breastfeeding supply store)
- Clothing to go home in (bring some of your early maternity clothes)
For Your Baby
- Car Seat
- All babies who are discharged from the hospital must go home in a car seat. Miller Children’s & Women's will not let a baby leave the hospital if there is not proof of one. It also is recommended that car seat and safety belt laws are followed for any child that leaves the hospital in a car.
- One outfit to go home in
- One blanket
- One T-shirt
Where to Park
When you are ready to deliver, you will enter the hospital through the Cherese Mari Laulhere BirthCare Center entrance, which is on Columbia St. between Atlantic Ave. and Long Beach Blvd. There are a few designated parking spots where you can park while you check in.
After you have been checked in to a birthing suite, the car you arrived in will need to be moved. Have your partner in care or another family member, move your car to the main visitor parking lot on Memorial Medical Center Dr.
Once the car is parked, your partner in care will enter through the main Long Beach Medical Center lobby and take the elevators to the 2nd Floor turning right when they exit. A second check-in is not necessary, but your visitor badge is required.
Photography & Videography
We know the birth of your baby is a special time, and realize many families may want to photograph, video record or otherwise preserve this important moment. However, the care team has the right to be excluded from recordings and may not wish to be photographed. Therefore, please discuss plans/preferences for recording prior to the delivery of your child. Additionally, recordings may at times interfere with their ability to provide urgently needed care to the birth parent and baby, so the staﬀ also reserve the right to require you to stop recording even if consent had been previously granted. Posting images of our staﬀ on social media is not permitted. Also, recording of other patients is never allowed.
Newborn photos are available on Mom365.com.
Miller Children’s & Women’s has adopted an added security measure with the innovative Infant Safety System developed by CertaScan Technologies. The Infant Safety System is a security system that captures high-resolution newborn footprints that can be used for precise identification in situations that might cause separation between parent and baby, like a natural disaster.
Like a fingerprint, a footprint never changes, but it is often difficult to capture a newborn’s fingerprints. Shortly after delivery, a nurse will bring in the scanner for a quick, 2-second scan of the baby’s feet. Once scanned, the prints are encrypted and securely storied in CertaScan Technologies’ highly protected storage cloud, as well as the baby’s medical record. Identifying medical information is stored securely and parents are given password-protected access after delivery.
Because of these strict safety protocols, CertaScan has garnered the attention and praise of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the technology has been included as a recommendation for hospitals in its most recent Infant Security Guidelines.
Along with being a safety feature at Miller Children’s & Women’s, CertaScan allows parents to be able to pull up their baby’s footprint up to a year after their birth. They can use the copy of the footprint for various keepsakes and print it out free of charge.
This security measure is offered free of charge, and is not mandatory.