Frequenlty Asked Questions

Questions about The Birthing Center
Questions about Pregnancy
Questions about complications during pregnancy

Questions about The Birthing Center

Q: Can I tour the facility ahead of time?

A: Yes, a tour can be arranged for any day between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Q: What should I bring to the hospital when I’m ready to deliver?

A: We recommend packing the following items, but you may also want to ask your family or childbirth educator for tips on what to bring.


  • Your insurance card and any hospital paperwork you need
  • If you are unmarried, the father of the baby will need a picture ID for preparing your baby’s birth certificate.
  • Your eyeglasses (if you need any)
    • Even if you usually wear contacts, you'll probably need/want to take them out at some point during your stay.
  • A hair band and barrettes (if you think you might want them)
  • Lip balm or moisturizer
  • A bathrobe, nightgown, slippers, and a few of pairs of socks
    • We provide hospital gowns for you to use during labor and delivery, but you may wear your own afterwards.
    • Choose something loose and comfortable such as a top with short, loose sleeves so you your blood pressure can be checked easily.
    • You might also want to bring your own slippers and robe for walking around during the early stages of labor. If you don't want to risk soiling your robe, you can ask for a second hospital gown to wear as a robe to cover your backside.
    • Bring extra panties and bras.
  • Something you will enjoy reading, as well as reading material for your support person
  • Massage oils or lotions, music, an extra pillow, whatever you need to help you relax
    • If you do bring your own pillow, be sure to use a patterned or colorful pillowcase so it doesn't get mixed up with the hospital's.
    • Consider bringing tennis balls or a rolling pin in case you have back labor and need them for massage.
  • Hair care products, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • A breastfeeding support pillow is a great aid for supporting your baby during feedings and can be purchased at local department stores or online.
  • Pictures of people that you find relaxing such as your family or pets
  • Baby blankets and two or three infant sleepers, infant undershirts/onesies, and socks for infant to wear while in the hospital and to wear when he/she is discharged
  • Some moms like to bring baby mittens as well.
  • Car seat to transport infant home in your vehicle on day of discharge
    • You do not need to bring the car seat to The Birthing Center, but you need to practice installing the car seat in your vehicle before you leave the hospital so your baby will be safe.
  • Do not bring any valuables (such as jewelry) and large amounts of money.

Q: What options do mothers-to-be have for managing their pain during childbirth?

A: Once at The Birthing Center, most expectant mothers have the options of epidural anesthesia and intravenous pain medications as well as comfort measures such as birthing balls, in-room showers, and heating pads.

Q: How soon can I get an epidural?

A: Your doctor will make that decision, but in general, moms are given their requested pain relief once active labor has been established.

Q: What are visiting hours at The Birthing Center?

A: 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. We encourage one support person to remain with the mother throughout her stay to assist with the care of the newborn.

Q: How many people are allowed in the labor room?

A: You may have two to three people in the labor room with you. A good rule of thumb is to invite only those who are true labor support people as opposed to “visitors.”

Q: Is filming allowed?

A: You may videotape only at select times in labor and delivery. Please ask the hospital staff if filming is appropriate at a particular time. Videotaping during a procedure is not allowed. You must have prior permission from staff and doctors before taking their picture with video or still photography.

Q: How long will I stay in the hospital?

A: At least 24 hours with a vaginal birth and usual 48 to 72 hours after a cesarean.

Q: Can my baby remain with me the entire stay?

A: Your baby will be with you throughout the majority of your stay, and will only being taken to the nursery for the initial monitoring (shortly after birth), for pediatrician exams, and in the case of medical necessity.

Q: Are there breastfeeding consultants on staff?

A: Yes, our nurses are quite proficient at providing breastfeeding assistance. We do have lactation counselor who can be reached during more difficult circumstances. After your discharge, you may contact The Birthing Center at any time with questions.

Q: Are there security measures in place to protect my baby?

A: Yes, many.

  • Your baby will be fitted with two identification bands that also serve as security devices.
  • The newborn nursery is equipped with a door that is always locked from both inside and outside. Anyone wishing to access the nursery must first obtain permission from a nurse.
  • Each nurse has a private code on his/her badge that identifies who has professional access to your baby.
  • The hospital has security guards on staff 24 hours a day.
  • Each baby is fitted with an electronic security box on his/her ankle that will trigger an alarm if the baby passes through the door to The Birthing Center or if the box is tampered with. Security guards are called immediately if the alarm is set and the hospital may be placed into a lockdown.

Q: How do I register for childbirth classes?

A: To register for childbirth classes, simply call 252-535-8702.

Questions about Pregnancy

Q: When should I begin prenatal care?

A: As soon as you suspect that you are pregnant, you should contact your doctor for an appointment. Proper prenatal care can help get your pregnancy off to a good start.

Q: How early can the baby’s heartbeat be seen with an ultrasound scan?

A: If the woman is not overweight, the heartbeat can be seen on abdominal scan at seven to eight weeks. If there are particular concerns it can be seen with a transvaginal scan can at six to seven weeks. A transvaginal scan should not be done without good reason.

Q: Can I travel while pregnant?

A: Yes. Traveling is fine, even long-distance, until 32 weeks in a normal pregnancy, and short-distance traveling until 36 weeks. When the pregnancy is obvious, it is better to have a letter confirming your fitness to fly from your doctor. You should drink water, keep your legs moving, walk around, and wear anti-thrombosis stockings. Some doctors suggest that you take low dose aspirin. The risk during a journey is a blood clot forming in the legs. The cabin pressure on an airplane is not harmful to the baby.

Q: What about exercise?

A: Exercise is important in pregnancy. Most gyms will give advice about pregnancy exercises.

Q: Can I take medication during pregnancy?

A: Always consult a doctor if you need to take medication.

Q: What is fetal monitoring?

A: Fetal monitoring is the process of listening to your baby’s heartbeat to insure that it sounds healthy. There is also a monitor for measuring contractions.

Q: What is the placenta?

A: The placenta, also known as the afterbirth, is a sponge-cake-like membrane attached to the wall of your womb, which transfers oxygen and nutrition from your blood to the baby’s blood. It can be located with an ultrasound scan. Sometimes the placenta may be described as “low” on the 22-week ultrasound. This would be a reason to have a repeat scan at 32 to 34 weeks. Ninety-five percent of placentas that are low will have moved to a normal higher position by 32 to 34 weeks.

Q: What is an epidural?

A: An epidural is an injection in your back that blocks the pain impulses coming from your womb. It is usually a very effective method of pain relief with few side effects. It may reduce your ability to push the baby out and can slow the later stages of labor.

Questions about complications during pregnancy

Q: What if I am having a lot of nausea and vomiting early in pregnancy?

A: Most women have some nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Sensible dietary adjustments should help. It usually persists but diminishes around 15 weeks when it becomes insignificant. It is probably a response to the early pregnancy hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). Medication can be given if necessary. Rarely admission to the hospital with the use of intravenous fluids may be necessary. An ultrasound scan should be performed to rule out multiple pregnancy and hydatidiform mole.

Q: When might an induction of labor be necessary?

A: If there is a perception that your baby is at risk or under some threat by remaining in the womb, then your doctor might suggest that induction should be performed. You should ask first about the condition of your cervix (cervical ripeness). For a first baby, an unready (unripe) cervix means a long and difficult induction of labor with an increased chance for cesarean section. It is easier to induce labor with subsequent natural birth if it is a second or subsequent baby with a favorable cervix. There are complementary methods of inducing labor including homeopathy, acupuncture, spicy food, vigorous walking, or sexual activity. The indication of induction of labor is not always clear. You are entitled to ask for a second opinion.

Q: When might a cesarean section be necessary?

A: If the doctor perceives that there is a significant risk to you or your baby by continuing with the process of vaginal birth. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is a major operation and there are risks of anesthesia, surgical organ damage, hemorrhage, blood clot, and infection. Recovery from a cesarean section is slower than from a vaginal birth.

Q: What if I have vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy?

A: Many women experience a small amount of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. If this is associated with sharp lower abdominal pain and a history of ectopic pregnancy, you should call your doctor immediately. If there is a history of previous early miscarriage, then an ultrasound scan will be reassuring. If there is a relative lack of breast tenderness, urinary symptoms or nausea, then a viable pregnancy should be confirmed by ultrasound scan. The vast majority of women with bleeding in early pregnancy go on to have a healthy baby at term.

Q: Should I be concerned if I have had a previous ectopic pregnancy?

A: Yes. You should have an assessment and ultrasound scan at six to seven weeks. Most subsequent pregnancies are in the normal place and progress to the birth of a healthy baby.

Q: What is placenta previa?

A: This means that the placenta is below the baby. This has two implications. First, it may be a cause of some vaginal bleeding. This usually does not harm the baby, but you must inform the doctor if this occurs. Second, a persistent placenta previa will obstruct the passage of the baby through the birth canal and a cesarean may be necessary. An anterior placenta previa in association with a previous cesarean section is a particular hazard.

Q: Why might an episiotomy be done?

A: Fewer episiotomies are performed now than in previous years. Essentially it is done when the perineum seems to be about to tear badly.

“If I needed anything, they were right there.”
Jessica BowserRoanoke Rapids

Office Hours: Mon-Fri at 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Click to schedule a tour.
250 Smith Church Road • Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 • (252) 535-8670
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