Labor and Delivery

Your Special Daybirthplace-2014-054

“Lakeland’s labor and delivery nurses were amazing. They gave me dignity in my most vulnerable moments, they offered calm, steady, reassuring encouragement when they could tell I was scared and in a lot of pain, and they showed genuine awe and excitement despite seeing babies born every day.” 

Am I in Labor?

Upon your arrival to Lakeland, our expert clinical staff will assess your situation and communicate with your primary care provider to provide the most accurate diagnosis. If you are in active labor, you will be admitted to our labor and delivery unit. It might be possible that you are experiencing early labor, and we may discharge you to the comfort of your home. However, we are always available if your labor symptoms should reoccur.

How will my pain be managed?

As a patient at Lakeland, you have a right to have your pain assessed, re-assessed, and eased in a timely manner and participate in deciding how to treat your labor discomfort. We offer pain relief through medications, nitrous oxide (in St. Joseph), and epidurals. For mothers who choose not to use medication, we offer a variety of other pain control options including birthing balls, birthing tubs, heating pads, relaxation techniques, or massage.

Nitrous Oxide for Pain Management 

The BirthPlace at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph recently became one of only two hospitals in our region (west Michigan and northern Indiana) to offer nitrous oxide for patients giving birth. Traditionally known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide used for labor pain is a mixture of 50 percent nitrous gas and 50 percent oxygen. The nitrous gas is self-administered by the laboring woman and inhaled through a mask. There is no risk of overdose to the mother or child. 

Nitrous is the only pain relief method used for labor that is cleared from the body through the lungs, so as soon as the mask is pulled away, the nitrous effect is gone within a few breaths. Although nitrous and an epidural cannot be used together, women may choose to use nitrous oxide first and then move on to a different type of pain relief if needed as labor progresses. 

Celebrate Happy Hour – Skin-to-Skin Contact after Delivery

Happy Hour is the first time mom and baby spend together as a family. We want to give you and your baby that first hour together without interruptions so you can get to know each other. This closeness is one of the best ways for you to learn about your baby and begin the important process of bonding and connecting with your newborn.

During this time after delivery, your nurse will dry and place your baby skin to skin on your chest for at least one hour. Medications, bathing, and weighing are done after skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact may also take place after C-section delivery.

Direct skin contact from the moment of delivery affects the following:

  • Brain development
  • Emotional development
  • Baby’s temperature, heart rate, and breathing
  • Bonding
  • Crying
  • Successful breast feeding
  • Pain relief

Mother and New Baby Care


After you and your loved ones have welcomed your new little one into the world, mother and baby are transferred to our Mother/Baby Unit. Each newborn is transferred to our nursery to receive a physical assessment, hearing screen, and various other tests to ensure the baby’s health. We designed the rooms in our Mother/Baby Unit to offer mothers and families a private place to bond with their newborn just like if you were at your own home.

Babies may stay with their mothers in the room or in our nursery when mom is in need of rest. We are always available to answer your questions and provide guidance during those first days. At all times during your stay, you can also rest assured that our state-of-the-art infant security system will keep your baby safe.

Infant Safety System by CertaScan Technologies 


Lakeland is the first hospital in Michigan to offer CertaScan technology that allows staff at the BirthPlace to digitally scan a newborn’s footprint and capture a high resolution image which can be used for precise identification in situations like an abduction, lost baby, or natural disaster. Digital footprints and a security photo are stored efficiently in the newborn’s electronic medical record.Parents are also presented with a keepsake certificate containing the baby’s footprints and have the option to download a digital copy to share with family and friends

Visiting Hours

In the hospital, you and your baby’s health, privacy, and safety are our top priorities, so we developed some basic guidelines for family members and friends to follow when they come see you.

  • General visiting hours occur from 10:00 a.m. through 8:30 p.m.
  • Fathers, grandparents, and siblings may visit at any time, but please be considerate if you’re sharing a room with someone else.
  • We ask that visitors stay home if they’ve been exposed to a contagious illness within the past two weeks or are currently sick.
  • Visitors who want to hold your baby will be asked to wash their hands first.
  • Visitors can stay overnight if special arrangements have been made with your nurse.
  • Visitation may be limited at the discretion of your physician or nurse.

Serenity Hours

We offer a special, daily quiet time for our families from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. to help them rest and bond with the newest member of their family.

During Serenity Hours we promise to:

  • Minimize interruptions
  • Encourage a quiet atmosphere
  • Dim the lights
  • Limit visitors with the patient’s permission

We ask that you join us in respecting Serenity Hours as we work to create a healing environment for all of our patients – both big and small. 

Online Nursery

Since we know how important it is to share this special time with all of your family and friends, we have partnered with Mom365 to make your newborn’s portraits available in an Online Nursery.

For babies born at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph click here.
For babies born at Lakeland Hospital, Niles click here.

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