Birth & Newborn Services
Welcome to UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Birth & Newborn Services! At our birthing center you will find experienced and caring physicians, midwives, nurses and support staff who will help you welcome the newest member of your family. We believe in a family-centered approach to your care. Our team is here to respond to your needs with the highest level of skill, professionalism and compassion.
We make every effort to make your stay is as comfortable as possible so that you and your family can be afforded the privacy and ability to experience the birth of your choice.
Preparing for Childbirth
Every pregnancy and birth is a unique, life-changing event. That is why UnityPoint Health – Meriter is committed to providing you with the information you need, the best possible care, and a comfortable environment where you are treated with warmth and respect.
Preparing for Childbirth
Complete the Birth Preferences form. Writing your birth preferences will help you to consider the many decisions you will make during your labor and postpartum time in the hospital. It will also enable you to communicate your ideas and philosophy to your OB provider, nurse midwife, the nursing staff and your support people.
Family Health Education offers a variety of live virtual classes and support for new and expecting parents all led by birthing and parenting experts. Classes cover late pregnancy, childbirth, baby care and infant feeding. We even offer a class for grandparents-to-be!
Well Water - If you have well water, it is very important to have it tested to be sure it is safe for your baby. A high nitrate content will decrease the ability of a baby's blood to carry oxygen. Bacteria in the water can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Boiling well water may kill the bacteria, but it also increases the nitrate level.
City Water - If your home was built before 1985 have your water tested for lead. If your home is new, have your water tested for copper.
How to Test - The local agencies that test water are:
- State Lab Hygiene - (800) 442-4618. Water testing kits for well and city water are available for a small fee.
- Public Health for Madison and Dane County - (608) 266-4821. Water testing kits for well and city water are available for a small fee. Fees are waived for Dane County residents who meet income eligibility standards.
Your Hospital Stay
In the Birthing Center, we want to make your entire childbirth experience comfortable, personal and memorable.
- Take a virtual tour of our Birthing and Family Care Centers.
- All of our new families start their journey on the labor and delivery unit in the Birthing Center. Tucked away in each room is everything our staff needs to welcome your baby into the world. Special equipment is immediately available if needed. Should the need arise, Cesarean Birth operating suites are located in the Birthing Center for immediate access.
- After delivery and recovery, you and your family will be moved to a private suite in our Family Care Center.
Valet Services are conveniently offered at the front entrance of the hospital weekdays, 6:00 AM – 4:30 PM.
- 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM - Park in any visitor area in the ramp. (If you do not feel comfortable walking from the ramp, you can park temporarily in the drive-in front of the main lobby doors. Your spouse or support person can move the car after you are admitted.) Go to the 4 North triage area where you will be admitted.
- 8:00 PM - 6:00 AM- The main lobby doors are locked during these hours. Park and take the elevators to the 2nd floor to enter the hospital lobby. From there, you will be directed to the Birthing Center.
One of the advantages of family-centered care is that your baby stays with you from the moment of birth. You will discover your baby's preferences and begin a feeding relationship. By spending time together, you will discover the uniqueness of your new baby. Your nurse will be there to support you and assist you in caring for your baby.
Benefits of Rooming-In
- Better Breastfeeding.
Being with your baby allows for a better breastfeeding experience. You can breastfeed more often, learn your baby’s hunger cues, increase milk production and get more practice with different techniques. This helps foster more questions and conversation with your nurse and lactation consultant.
- Understand Your Baby.
Your baby has unique cues and ways of communicating his or her needs, whether baby is tired, stressed or hungry. The more quickly you learn to understand your baby, including in the overnight hours, the sooner your family will adjust to a new life together.
Your first few days with your baby are precious. We encourage you to spend as much time as possible holding baby skin-to-skin. This not only allows for bonding with baby, it helps baby regulate body temperature and stress, may improve brain development and healthy weight, may reduce postpartum depression and encourages breastfeeding and milk production.
It may seem like you’ll get more rest if baby is in a nursery. However, studies have shown you get the same amount of rest if baby shares your room, especially in the early days when baby wakes often to eat. Sharing a room will help your baby develop a more regular sleeping routine, which may lead to a better routine for the whole family.
We want to make sure you are prepared to take care of your infant when you go home. Keeping your baby with you gives you more time to practice news skills like swaddling, bathing and diaper changes in an environment where you can freely ask advice from your care team. You’ll be more confident in your abilities when you leave.
You and your OB provider will decide together when you are ready to go home. Patients who have a vaginal birth generally go home the second day after giving birth. Patients who have a cesarean birth usually go home about three days after giving birth. Factors that could extend or shorten your stay include complications, personal preference and insurance coverage.
Information for Patients & Visitors
You will receive one parking pass that can be delegated to a family member or friend. To get the pass, go to the Guest Services office in the lobby.
They are open Monday - Friday, 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM and Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM. Other visitors can also park in the ramp, for a small fee. Parking is free on holidays.
UnityPoint Health – Meriter offers water birth as an option for labor and delivery. Water birth can provide an excellent alternative birth option for healthy patients who are expecting an uncomplicated birth.
Water Birth FAQ
- Baby taking water into lungs during delivery
- Possible infection for you or your baby
- Newborn bleeding from broken umbilical cord
Your participation in a water birth class will help you prepare for possible emergencies. To prevent your baby from taking water into their lungs or breaking the umbilical cord, your OB provider will gently and quickly guide your baby above the water surface as it is born. You and your baby will be monitored for signs of infection. As with any birth, the obstetrical team will inform you when the risks of delivering in the birthing tub will outweigh the benefits of delivery under water. At that time, you will be informed and moved to the labor bed or an operating room.
- Healthy pregnant patients at least 18 years old
- Uncomplicated pregnancy
- Single baby in head down position
- No previous cesarean births
You will not be eligible for a water birth if any of the following conditions are present:
- Any condition requiring continuous electronic monitoring of your baby
- Abnormal bleeding
- Need for a vacuum or forceps delivery
- Need for medicine to strengthen contractions
- Meconium stained fluid
- Fever or other evidence of infection
- Request for epidural anesthesia
- Any obstetric emergency
- Problems with the water birth tub
- Decision of the admitting provider
- Trained water birth provider unavailable
- Pregnancy BMI of 40 or greater
Breastfeeding & Lactation Lounge
Our expertly trained Lactation Consultants, nursing staff and educators are committed to helping you have a positive breastfeeding experience. We offer a wide variety of services for before and after delivery including:
- Prenatal breastfeeding class
- Breastfeeding educational materials and aids
- Prenatal assessment for patients with previous or anticipated breastfeeding problems
- In-hospital consultations for patients and newborns
- Outpatient consultation for nursing parents and babies
- Telephone consultation from UnityPoint Health – Meriter Breastfeeding Helpline
- Office clinic visits for hands-on help
- A private Lactation Lounge for visitors to use for nursing and pumping (located in 3 Atrium above Dr. Joe Coffee Kiosk)
While patients and visitors are welcome to breastfeed anywhere within our hospital and clinics, those looking for a private space are invited to use our Lactation Lounge. The Lactation Lounge is conveniently located in 3 Atrium near the After-Hours Clinic, surgical waiting area and Dr. Joe. The room features a pump, comfortable chair, small table and electrical outlets. A bathroom is also located nearby.
Lactation Services Offered
Following the birth of your baby, our nurses are there to answer questions you may have and can help educate you on how best to meet your breastfeeding goals. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, our lactation consultants are there to support you and your nurse. Our consultants are available for inpatient visits seven days a week on our post-partum floors and in our NICU.
Lactation Patient Resouces
During the breastfeeding journey questions can come up. It’s important that you get your information from reputable resources. You can call the UnityPoint Health - Meriter Breastfeeding Helpline at 608-417-6547 or we suggest the following websites.
- LER: Parent Handouts - Lactation Education Resources (lactationtraining.com) for many common breastfeeding questions.
- CDC: Guidelines & Recommendations | Breastfeeding | CDC for recommended milk storage guidelines, cleaning breast pumps, and formula preparation, use and storage.
Parenthood is a rewarding and joyous experience, but it can also be an isolating one. Finding a good network of people who have similar experiences as you is beneficial for your wellbeing both mentally and physically. UnityPoint Health – Meriter offers several classes that enable parents with children 1 years old or younger to connect and share stories and common questions that may come up during your first year of being a parent. For any questions on birthing classes reach out to our Family Health Education team at MSN_FamilyHealth@unitypoint.org or 608-417-8446.