Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

Current Estimated Wait:

Your Hospital Stay  

At the Birthing Center, we want to make your entire childbirth experience personal, relaxed and memorable. Our suites are full of comforts and conveniences to make labor and delivery more pleasant.

What to expect when you have a baby during COVID-19


  • All patients admitted to the hospital are tested for COVID 19. This is a quick nasal (nose) swab and you will get results within hours. Knowing your COVID test result helps protect our team and allows us to take better care of you and your baby.

  • Your support person(s) will not be tested for COVID-19. They must always wear a mask in the hospital, except when eating, drinking or sleeping.

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, please know:

    • Your baby will still stay with you in your room during your entire stay.

    • You will need to wear a mask when caring for your baby.

    • You will be cared for by members of our experienced Pregnancy & Newborn team.

    • We will encourage breastfeeding and offer breastfeeding support

    • We will teach you and your support person how to safely care for your baby, including masking and hand washing.

    • Your stay will typically not be extended unless medically necessary.


  • For the most up-to-date information on UnityPoint Health - Meriter's visitor restrictions, please visit our Information for Visitors page. 

  • Your support person(s) may stay overnight in your room and bedding is provided. Your support person(s) may order food from the cafeteria to your room and eat with you.

  • Your support person(s) should stay in your room and not walk around in the hallways.

  • A doula is considered an important part of the care team and may be present in addition to your support person(s).

  • We encourage phone calls and video chats with friends, families and siblings. Our gift shop is available for online and phone orders, which will be delivered to your room.


  • Patients are not required to wear a mask while in active labor.

  • Patients who have a negative COVID test do not need to wear a mask when alone in their room or with a member of their household, including baby. 

  • Patients should put on a mask when members of the care team enter their room. This protects both you and our care teams.

  • Your support person(s) must always wear a mask at the hospital except when eating, drinking or sleeping. This includes wearing a mask when alone in the room with you and/or baby.

  • Your care team will always wear a mask. 

Complete state-of-the-art equipment is right here, but it's hidden away.

Tucked away in each room is everything our staff needs to welcome your baby into the world. Special equipment is immediately available if the unexpected occurs. And should the need arise, cesarean birth suites are located within the Birthing Center for immediate access.

Options for a more comfortable childbirth.

To help make childbirth as comfortable as possible, we offer a range of pain management options. Epidural anesthesia is available 24 hours a day.

Family Centered Cesarean Delivery

We are pleased to offer Family Centered Cesarean Delivery at UnityPoint Health - Meriter hospital to enhance the delivery experience of all women having a cesarean birth, while maintaining a safe environment for both mothers and babies. 

The concept of "family centered" cesarean promotes early mother-infant bonding and skin-to-skin contact. A family centered cesarean in which immediate skin-to skin contact between mother and baby is provided, enhances the mother's experience and also improves the infant's outcomes. Evidence supports, that immediate or early skin-to-skin contact after a cesarean delivery may increase breastfeeding, decrease time to the first breastfeed, reduce formula supplementation in the hospital, increase bonding and mother's satisfaction, maintain the temperature of newborns and reduce newborn stress.

Information for Patients & Visitors 

Parking Pass

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 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Other visitors can also park in the ramp, for a small fee. Parking is free on holidays.


Due to COVID-19 UnityPoint Health - Meriter has made changes to our visitor policy. For the most updated information regarding visitors, please visit our Visitors Page

Meal Service

The Food & Nutrition team strives to provide high-quality food to promote health and healing. Meal service consists of a house select meal delivered to your room three times a day. A diet clerk will visit you before your second meal to "personalize" your meals and accommodate your preferences, desired portion sizes or any allergies you may have. If your physician has ordered a special diet, the menu may be modified to adjust for changes in calorie, texture, fluids or other nutrients.


One of the advantages of family-centered care in the Birthing Center is that your baby stays with you from the moment of birth. You will discover your newborn's preferences, begin a feeding relationship and ask questions of your nurse every step of the way. By spending time together, you will discover the uniqueness of your new baby. With the support of your nurse, you care for your baby in your private room. As part of our commitment to being a Baby Friendly Hospital and to the promotion of rooming-in, we do not have a traditional nursery. A holding nursery is available for those families that are in need of some respite care for a few hours, usually when Mom has had a complicated delivery and needs some time to rest. Please make arrangements for this with your nurse. Learn more about Rooming-In

Going Home

Routine discharge is by 1 pm. You and your physician or nurse-midwife will decide together when you are ready to go home. Mothers who have a vaginal birth generally go home the second day after giving birth. Mothers 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.