What to Expect: Having a baby at Salem Hospital

Planning to welcome your baby at Salem Health Family Birth Center?

Let's talk through what you can expect!

First, we'll insert our opinion: You've chosen a wonderful place to have a baby! 

We attend many births at Salem Health and we are continually impressed by the care provided by the nursing staff. We watch them actively listen. We see them read birth plans. We hear their words of encouragement. They simply do an amazing job of helping you have the birth experience that you're desiring. 

Breaking down some of the basics:

Your Arrival:

•If you arrive between 5am and 9pm, you'll enter Building D and head straight up to Labor & Delivery on the 3rd floor. (There will be white sandwich board signs in front of the doors if Building D is closed for the night.)

•If you arrive after 9pm and before 5am, you'll enter through the Emergency Department. They will work quickly to get you over to Labor & Delivery- it's definitely not the typical Emergency Department wait time.

Checking In:

•If you arrive through the main building, check in happens at the desk on the 3rd floor. You can do a portion of your registration in advance here to expedite the process. They'll give you some information to hold and a nurse will come out to the lobby to get you shortly.

•If you arrive through the Emergency Department, they'll get you checked in before someone transports you over to Labor and Delivery.

First Steps:

•For the majority of people, the first steps after 'going back' include a weight check and a visit to the triage room. This room has two beds separated by a curtain. This initial stop typically includes giving a urine sample, monitoring the baby, and a check to get an idea of where you're at in labor. 

•If your provider determines that it's time to admit you, you'll be transferred to a room.

•If there's a question that this may be early labor, your nurse or provider may suggest that you walk around the halls for an hour or so to get an idea of what your body is doing. Your provider may recommend that you go home if your body does not show signs of active labor.

After Being Admitted:

•As you are being admitted, you will receive a saline lock placed in your hand or arm to allow for access for blood draws, fluids, antibiotics, etc.

•Your nurse will also ask you some questions to finish up the admittance process.


•Salem Health offers monitoring on/near the bed, as well as units that can be used while you're in the bathtub, walking the halls, etc.

Comfort Measures & Pain Relief Options available at Salem Health:

•Yoga balls and peanut balls are available for your use to assist in getting in various positions to both help with discomfort and assist in moving your baby down.

•The bathtub is often an option for relieving some discomfort and assisting your body in relaxing during labor.

•Aromatherapy (lavender, peppermint, etc) is available upon request.

Nitrous Oxide may be an option for pain/anxiety relief. The slow, deep breaths that happen with the nitrous during each contraction may be beneficial, also.

•IV pain medication can be used to relieve labor discomfort. This can be an option that provides quick relief.

•Epidurals are another option for the possibility of more complete pain relief.

Pushing Options

•The general 'rule' is that pushing/delivery happens on the bed. Other than that, the many providers are flexible with the position you choose.

•Both coached and self-directed pushing are options.

•A squat bar is available for those who would like to try that position.

After Birth:

•Baby will go directly skin-to-skin (unless otherwise medically indicated).

•The cord will be left intact for approximately 1 minute for delayed cord clamping.

•Baby will remain skin-to-skin for the first hour after birth.

•All initial newborn procedures are done in the room after that first hour.

•You'll move upstairs to the Mother/Baby Unit on the 4th floor for the remainder of your stay.

Do you have other questions about delivering at Salem Health Family Birth Center? Send us an email and we'd be happy to help you with answers- or direct you to someone else who will know the answer.