Getting Ready for the Big Day

The big day will be here before you know it! These guidelines will help you get ready to meet the newest member of your family.

Pack your overnight bag well in advance of your due date. We suggest you include:

  • Your insurance card, the telephone number of your insurance company and photo identification
  • An iPod® or personal music player to listen to your favorite relaxing tunes
  • Camera and/or video equipment (Please note: You must have permission from hospital staff before photographing them. Photographing or videotaping other patients is not allowed.)
  • An extra pillow with a colored pillowcase to differentiate it from hospital bedding
  • Socks to warm your feet
  • If desired, snacks for dad or your labor coach
  • Addresses and phone numbers of friends and family
  • Nightgown or pajamas, robe, underwear and slippers to wear after your delivery
  • Nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed; standard bra if you plan to bottle feed
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Reading material such as books and magazines
  • A baby book to get your baby's footprints after delivery
  • Loose-fitting clothes to wear home
  • Baby clothes, including an outfit, hat, booties and blanket
  • An approved infant car seat; get the facts about choosing the right car seat for your child

Don't bring:

  • Medications or prescriptions from home
  • A large amount of cash
  • Jewelry

If you're unsure whether to go to the hospital or stay home, call your doctor, especially if:

  • You are having regular painful contractions.
  • Your water has broken.
  • You have heavy bleeding.
  • You don't feel your baby moving.
  • You have other concerns.

When in doubt, make the call. Your physician will provide guidance and reassurance.

When it's time to deliver your baby, go straight to the labor and delivery area on the fifth floor of the hospital. You'll be evaluated by your doctor or a registered nurse, who will monitor your contractions and your baby's heartbeat.

Comfortable Birthing Suites

Portsmouth's private labor and birthing rooms offer a soothing environment with skilled and helpful care providers—and technology readily available to support your birthing experience. Our birthing suites are designed to make you feel at home, with private baths, comfortable furniture and a sleep sofa for an overnight guest.

Childbirth Techniques and Pain Management

We offer a number of techniques to make your labor more comfortable and effective, including:

  • Birthing balls and stools
  • Breathing techniques
  • Music therapy
  • Heat therapy and water therapy (warm bath or shower)

Reiki therapy and massage are available to all women in labor. Learn more about these relaxation techniques offered through our integrative services for whole-person care.

Other alternatives for managing pain include medications and epidural anesthesia. Talk with your doctor to determine the pain management options that are best for you.

Cesarean Birth

If vaginal delivery is not possible, you will have a cesarean birth (C-section), an operation that delivers your baby through your abdomen. Although some C-sections are planned for medical reasons, sometimes the need is not known until labor is underway—for example, if the baby's head is too large to pass through the birth canal. In most cases, your spouse or significant other will be able to accompany you through the procedure.

Rest assured that if a surgical birth is necessary, you and your baby are in good hands. Portsmouth Regional Hospital consistently ranks in the top ten percent of hospitals for the quality of our obstetrical surgery.

After your recovery, you and your new baby will move to a maternity room. We practice "rooming-in" because research indicates that keeping a baby with its mother is better for both mother and child as they get to know each other. This means you and your baby will remain in the same room throughout your stay.

All newborn care—including bathing and checking vital signs—takes place in your room, and family members are encouraged to participate. Your significant other is welcome to stay overnight and assist you with caring for your new baby. During this time, your patient care team will support you and your baby as you get to know each other and recover.

If you plan to breastfeed your baby, our certified lactation consultants will help get you started comfortably and confidently.

Our expert nursing staff members receive training and certification in specific lifesaving procedures, so you can count on them to know your baby's body and how to respond quickly to unexpected or challenging situations. If your baby needs additional observation or care, our birth services include our Special Care Nursery where we can monitor your baby and care for its needs.

Learn more about our special services for moms and babies after your baby is born.

While you're in labor, your husband, partner or coach may visit you at any time. Additional visitors may be permitted at your bedside with your obstetrician's approval. 

After your baby's here, your friends and family may visit at any time, but it's important to balance your desire to share this important event with others and your need for rest, nursing care and time with your baby. It's in your baby's best interests that visitors have up-to-date immunizations and that anyone with an infection, such as the flu or a cold, or those who have been recently exposed to one, not visit the maternity area. Quiet time is between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m.

Our comfortable family waiting rooms provide ample space for additional well-wishers. All visitors must check in at the nurses' station to obtain a visitor badge.

Seacoast Family Care