You are using an older version of Internet Explorer that is not supported on this site. Please upgrade for the best experience.

When You Arrive

Upon arrival

When you arrive, you will go to the Wesson Building where the Wesson Women and Infants’ Birthing Unit is located. Once inside the lobby of the Wesson Building, go to the Patient Registration Area. After registering, you will go to the Women’s Evaluation and Treatment Unit (WETU).

Women’s Evaluation and Treatment Unit (WETU)

It is here that a nurse or nurse-midwife will evaluate your labor to see if you are in early or active labor.   The nurse or midwife will then report to your health care provider.   You will usually receive a vaginal exam at this time to determine cervical dilation.  If you’re in very early labor, staff may encourage you to walk around for an hour or two before being examined again. It is also possible, if you live nearby, that you may be sent home where you will be more comfortable during this early phase. 

Walking may bring more contractions and can help us determine if your labor is true or false. While you are in the unit, our team will observe your labor, using a fetal monitor to evaluate your labor contractions and the baby’s heart rate. You may watch TV and your support person may stay with you to help you with your breathing and relaxation techniques. Once you are in active labor, we will transfer you to a private birthing room located on the first floor.

Birthing Center

Once you are in active labor, we will transfer you to a private birthing room located on the first floor of the Birthing Center.  

There are 38 private birthing rooms (also called LDRP rooms - for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum) where you will go through labor, deliver your baby, and stay until your discharge.  Each room has its own shower and a bed for your support person.  Emergency equipment is kept out of sight, behind panels within your room.  During labor you can walk, take a shower, watch TV, listen to music, or use a birthing ball or any of the other techniques you may have learned. If available, you may use our hydrotherapy tub for labor. 

After delivery, we encourage you to hold and if planning to nurse, breastfeed your baby. You can have skin-to-skin contact by holding your baby against your chest.  A blanket is placed over you and your baby to create a warm, calm place for your baby to relax. Babies learn through touch, sight, sound, smell and taste which is enhanced by this skin-to-skin contact. This is also a good way to begin breastfeeding.  If you choose to breastfeed your baby, a member of our breastfeeding support staff will visit you.

Identification bracelets will be placed on you, your partner and your baby. A security monitor will also be placed on your baby. Within the first hour, as required by state law, erythromycin ointment will be placed into your baby’s eyes to help prevent infection.

Your baby may remain in your room throughout your postpartum stay, or if you need rest, the baby can stay in the nursery until you are ready. Your pediatrician will perform your baby’s physical exam in your room.  Your pediatrician will also talk to you about your baby receiving the first Hepatitis B vaccination while still in the hospital.   After your baby is born, you may stay in the hospital for 1-2 days after a vaginal birth and 3-4 days after a Cesarean delivery.  Your doctor or nurse-midwife will discuss their discharge recommendations with you.   

Screening Tests

The commonwealth of Massachusetts tests all newborns for certain rare metabolic disorders that indicate a baby’s body chemistry is not working properly. These disorders may have no visible effects at birth, but if not treated early, can cause physical problems, mental retardation, or death.

When detected soon after birth, however, dietary changes or special medications may prevent future problems. The blood test makes such timely treatment possible.  The metabolic disorders
blood test will be done while your baby is in the hospital, and possibly repeated after you return home. The sample will be checked by the Department of Public Health, who will notify you only if the test results show your baby has problems.

Your newborn will also receive a hearing test while still in the hospital.  Important learning takes place during the first three years, and a hearing loss may affect a child’s development. Studies show that infants with hearing issues who are identified early and receive intervention services before age six months, have better language, speech and social skills than children whose hearing loss is found later in life.  The hearing test is a quick, easy and painless test done while your baby sleeps in the nursery.  

  • If your baby passes, no further testing is needed unless there is a family history of permanent hearing loss that began in childhood or your doctor feels that further testing is needed due to other risk factors.
  • If your baby does not pass the test, an outpatient follow-up appointment will be scheduled.
    This does not mean that your baby has a hearing loss, but it does mean that further testing is needed. It is important to keep this appointment! Most health insurance plans cover the cost of the testing. Families without insurance coverage should call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 1-800-882-1435 (TTY: 1-671-624-6001) for more information.

Wesson 2 - Cesarean/High Risk Pregnancy Unit

If you will need a Cesarean delivery, you will go to the operating room (OR) for your delivery and recovery (PACU). You will then transfer to the Wesson 2/Cesarean & High Risk Pregnancy Unit for your postpartum stay.  Here, specially trained nurses care for moms who have had a Cesarean delivery and their babies or for women who need to be hospitalized during their pregnancy.  

Occasionally, it might be necessary to transfer you for the remainder of your postpartum stay to Wesson 2 to accommodate other laboring patients.   Premature babies and other infants who need special care may be transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Please don’t hesitate to ask your nurse or care provider if you have any questions about your care or discharge instructions.   Check your Becoming a Family - Your Pregnancy and Hospital Services booklet for more details.

Home Visit Services

Before you leave the hospital, our staff will offer you a home visit and schedule one if you want it.   Home visits are voluntary, and some insurance plans may not pay for a visit or may require a copayment.  To make the most of your home visit, we suggest you:

  • Write down any questions you have about your care or the care of your baby
  • Keep a written record of the time of the baby’s feedings and the number of wet diapers and stools the baby has after leaving the hospital.

The home visit will be done by a nurse with special training in maternal and newborn care. An
additional home visit or phone call to check on you and your baby may be done if your doctor
or nurse-midwife thinks you need one.

You will receive another Becoming a Family book, "Your Baby and You at Home," which will provide you with information about how to care for yourself and your baby.