My Guide to Labor & Delivery

WHAT TO EXPECT when you go into labor

When you arrive at MoBap, you will go directly to the third floor of Building D, where our receptionist will greet you, help you complete your registration and direct you where to go next. Then, one of our labor and delivery nurses will bring you into a triage room to examine you and determine whether or not you are in labor. If you are in labor, it will either be early labor or active labor.

Early Labor

Depending on the progress of your early labor, your nurse may give you the option of going home. Early labor is unpredictable. It can last for hours or even days, especially for first-time moms. For many women, it isn't particularly uncomfortable. Your cervix will begin to dilate, and you may feel mild to moderately strong contractions. These contractions may last 30 to 60 seconds and occur every five to 20 minutes. You may feel like doing some last-minute nesting chores, taking a walk or watching a movie. Practice your breathing for labor and try to relax.

Active Labor

If you are in active labor, you will be admitted to a birth suite in our labor & delivery unit. There, you will be assigned a specially-trained labor nurse who will examine and monitor you and your baby in preparation for delivery. Your nurse may place an IV in your arm and connect you to a fetal heart monitor.

Throughout your labor, you’ll have one or more labor nurses assigned to you.  They’ll coach you and your partner through the delivery – giving you personalized attention when you need it, allowing you private time when you need that, too. Doulas are welcome, too. 

While you are in labor, you can have clear liquids, including water, ice, apple juice, cranberry juice, grape juice, Jell-O, and popsicles. You may also use other labor and delivery items to help you during your labor, such as a birth ballwarm water labor tub, or taking a shower.

For first-time mothers, active labor averages 14 hours. Remember, that is the average – some labors will be longer, some shorter. Your cervix will continue dilating to 10 centimeters. Your contractions will become stronger and last even longer, and you may also feel increasing pressure in your back.

Your Pain Management


As your labor progresses, the pain will become more intense. If you are planning on natural childbirth (i.e. a drug-free), you may rely on Lamaze and breathing techniques to suppress the pain. You may also elect to use our warm water labor pool (immersion hydrotherapy -- advance reservation required). If you need pain medication or anesthesia (e.g. epidural), don’t hesitate to ask for it. You're the only one who can decide if you need pain relief.

If you choose to have an epidural, you may need to wait until you are well established in labor. Please discuss the timing of your epidural with your physician.  When the time comes, let your nurse know you are ready for your epidural.

To prepare you for an epidural, your labor and delivery nurse will infuse fluid into your IV. After the infusion, one of our OB  anesthesiologists or anesthetists will insert the epidural. This can be done right in your LDR.  Once the epidural has taken effect, your pain should be considerably lessened. You will have very little feeling from the middle of your back down. Therefore, your nurse will help you change positions as needed throughout your labor. Your bladder will be emptied with a catheter as needed.

Regardless of your labor preferences, you should rely on your partner/labor coach for encouragement and support to better manage your pain. If you are still struggling with your pain, ask your MoBap medical team for other suggestions.