Newborn baby at Lenox Hill Hospital

Our approach

North Shore-LIJ Health System offers labor and delivery facilities with exceptional quality and a remarkably caring staff. The team is dedicated to providing patients with a family-oriented approach to childbirth.

No matter where a woman chooses to deliver, each of the North Shore-LIJ hospitals provide the highest level of care for a child’s birth and have a vast resource of physician specialty services available should a patient need them.

Both North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center are regional perinatal centers, offering comprehensive care for high-risk pregnancies. The labor and delivery unit has LDR’s (rooms equipped to handle labor, delivery and recovery) so that laboring mothers are not moved from one room to another. There are operative delivery rooms in the event a C-section is needed. They also are equipped to handle the specialized care needed for multiple births as well as patients who are high risk for complications affecting the mother or the baby.

North Shore-LIJ appreciates that women need and deserve special care and special treatment in a family centered environment. That’s why the health system built the Katz Women’s Hospital at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and the Katz Women’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. These state of the art facilities offer women the latest in medical advances, as well as the comforts of single bedded rooms, and unique amenities for women and their families. The maternity unit in the Katz Women’s Hospital provides a comfortable and relaxed setting for the mother, her partner, and family. The postpartum single-bed rooms have been designed to foster maternal-newborn bonding between the mother and her baby. Emphasis is placed on creating a calm and supportive environment for the new mother to rest and adapt to her new role.

Planning ahead

Today there are many options for childbirth. It is up to each woman to decide whether or not she would like to use pain relief medication, whether she would like her partner to be with her throughout the birth and even whether she would like visitors while she are in labor. North Shore-LIJ encourages each patient to discuss the type of delivery experience she would like to have with her physician or nurse-midwife early in her pregnancy. Provided that the patient, her practitioner and the nurse taking care of her are in agreement and the situation allows, the health system will certainly try to accommodate the mother’s wishes.

Partners are permitted to attend all pre-arranged or medically indicated scheduled elective Cesarean deliveries. Partners may attend emergency Cesarean deliveries at the discretion of the attending physician and where general anesthesia is not used.

Labor

Labor is a series of continuous, progressive contractions of the uterus which help the cervix to open (dilate) and to thin (efface), allowing the fetus to move through the birth canal. Labor usually starts two weeks before or after the estimated date of delivery. However, no one knows exactly what triggers the onset of labor.

Signs of labor

Signs of labor vary from woman to woman, as each woman experiences labor differently. Some common signs of labor may include:

  • Bloody show. A small amount of mucus, slightly mixed with blood, may be expelled from the vagina indicating a woman is in labor.
  • Contractions. Contractions (uterine muscle spasms) occurring at intervals of less than ten minutes are usually an indication that labor has begun. Contractions may become more frequent and severe as labor progresses.
  • Rupture of amniotic sac (bag of waters). Labor sometimes begins with amniotic fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina. Women who experience a rupture of the amniotic sac should go to the hospital immediately and contact their physician or midwife. The majority of women go into labor within hours after the amniotic sac breaks. If labor still has not begun after 24 hours, a woman may be hospitalized for labor to be induced. This step is often taken to prevent infections and delivery complications.

If a woman feels unsure if labor is beginning, she should always call her physician or midwife.

Delivery

Delivery is the moment when the fetus, followed by the placenta, exits the mother's body. In preparation for the delivery, a woman may be moved into a birthing room or delivery room, or she may remain in the same room for both labor and delivery. Partners are encouraged to be actively involved in the process of childbirth by helping with relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.

Positions for delivery may vary from squatting, sitting, to semi-sitting positions (between lying down and sitting up). With semi-sitting positions, gravity can help the mother push the baby through the birth canal. The type of position for delivery depends on the preference of both the mother and the health care provider, as well as the health of the fetus.

During the delivery process, the medical personnel will continue to monitor the mother's vital signs (i.e., blood pressure and pulse) and the fetal heart rate. The health care provider will examine the cervical opening to determine the position of the fetus' head and will continue to support and guide the mother in her pushing efforts.

Delivery can be accomplished either vaginally or by cesarean section (also called c-section).