Our nurses will help you navigate the exciting period immediately after your baby arrives, your remaining stay with us in the Mother-Baby Unit, and your return home.
Immediately after delivery, your Family Birth Center nurse will examine your baby to ensure that he or she is healthy. If there are no complications, the pediatrician will examine your baby within 24 hours of delivery. If you and your baby have both had a delivery that is free of complications, every effort will be made to support skin-to-skin contact. Most of these procedures will be performed at the bedside while your baby is on your chest. They are usually brief and include:
- Apgar scoring: Performed at one minute after birth and again at five minutes, Apgar scoring measures your baby’s heart rate, skin color, breathing, muscle tone, and reflexes.
- Eye ointment: To protect your baby’s eyes from infection, we will place ointment in them, usually after your baby has had a chance to bond (during the golden hour).
- Vitamin K Injection: This injection, given in your baby’s thigh, stimulates coagulation to prevent bleeding.
Should your baby need extra care after birth, Huntington Hospital has a Level-III neonatal intensive care unit (and a neonatologist available around the clock).
Mother-Baby Couplet Care
After you recover in our Family Birth Center, you and your baby will move to the Mother-Baby Unit. Our highly trained and experienced nursing staff, many who are certified in maternal newborn nursing and low-risk newborn nursing, is at your side to offer education, support and guidance through this special time. One RN cares for both mother and baby. This is called Couplet Care, designed to provide newborns and mothers with the best possible start in life, enhancing bonding and breastfeeding opportunities.
Nursing staff conducts frequent checks (“rounds”) during the day to address your care needs. Rounds during the night respect your need for sleep. Should you need to contact your nurse outside of rounds, please call him or her directly. For your safety, there is a nurse call button at your bedside, and an emergency call button in your bathroom. We are available to respond to conditions related to your care 24 hours a day.
Keeping you informed is important to us. Nurses typically work twelve-hour shifts. When we hand over care to another caregiver, we provide a report at the bedside whenever possible. During this report, we provide you with a brief review of what you experienced during the prior shift, and what you can expect for the next shift. We will ask you to tell us what’s important to you, share any concerns and ask any questions you might have. Because it is your private and personal health care information, we will ask you if you want your visitors to stay or leave.
Preparing for Discharge
Newborn Screenings and Treatments Before Discharge
- Critical Congenital Heart disease screening: This test measures the oxygen level in your baby’s body to help detect any heart problems that may not be observed or heard during initial examinations.
- California Newborn Screening test: This is a public health program that screens all babies for many serious but treatable genetic disorders. All babies born in California are required to get screened soon after birth.
- Hepatitis B vaccine:The CDC recommends that the first dose of vaccine be given to your baby before leaving the hospital.
In addition to our nurses, support staff will help prepare you for your transition home:
- Birth certificate clerks will help you complete your birth certificate materials and apply for your child’s social security number.
- Hearing screening technicians will visit your baby to perform a hearing screening test before you go home.
- Social support staff (LCSWs, spiritual care team) can provide assistance to families during their stay.
Important topics regarding care for mom as well as baby are reviewed daily in a discharge class. This free class is taught by a lactation educator in the Mother-Baby Unit classroom.
Your obstetrician and pediatrician will discuss you and your baby’s condition and plans for discharge. Both physicians must write a discharge order to prepare for your transition home.
Going home from the hospital after having your baby can be very exciting, but it is not uncommon for new moms to experience postpartum depression and/or anxiety. The Maternal Wellness Program is designed specifically to help mothers experiencing these symptoms.
Visit the Maternal Wellness Program page to learn more.