Labor and Delivery

A team of obstetrician-gynecologists, neonatologists, experienced labor and delivery nurses and certified nurse midwives are on hand to assist with your entire labor and recovery. The team at the Birthplace is as familiar with high-risk pregnancies and deliveries as they are with first-time mothers experiencing a typical pregnancy. Several options for pain relief are offered during labor, including some that do not require medication. You can use these in combination or at different points during your labor.
Mom and baby after labor and delivery at Boston area hospital.

Labor and Delivery Options

Unmedicated Labor

Using techniques such as massage, warm showers or a whirlpool tub, breathing and relaxation techniques, and music can help you manage labor pain. You may bring in a CD player or MP3 device and speakers to play any music or relaxation program. The hospital’s television system has a relaxation program you may want to use. Birthing balls are available to help relieve backache and promote pelvic rocking and relaxation. Our labor and delivery beds can be positioned to assist with any desired pushing position.

Nitrous Oxide

The NSMC Birthplace now offers nitrous oxide to manage pain and improve your labor experience. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is self-administered using a mask inhaler, giving you complete control during labor. You simply take a few breaths of the nitrous oxide at the beginning of a contraction to help alleviate the pain, and within a minute it leaves your system. Nitrous oxide has little to no side effect on your baby, and can be administered within minutes of your choosing to use it. This pain management option is ideal for patients early in labor before they get an epidural, for patients who do not want an epidural or for patients who are too close to delivery to get an epidural.  Read one patient's experience using nitrous oxide

Pain Management

Anesthesiologists are available around the clock to provide a variety of pain management options. Most typical is an epidural block, which is administered through a tiny tube inserted in your lower back. Epidural blocks are used to relieve pain from the waist down and enable mothers to rest during the most strenuous part of labor while their cervix is dilating, saving their strength for pushing in the later stages of labor. 

Pain medication may also be administered through the IV or by injection. Local anesthesia may be used to numb the pain of an episiotomy incision or vaginal tearing.

Family Centered Cesareans

At the NSMC Birthplace we work to meet the needs and preferences of each family, and our family centered cesarean is another way we ensure that every birth experience is special. This new approach to cesarean births enables us to incorporate some of the more natural aspects of childbirth that are important to your family without compromising the care. By offering small but significant changes to the cesarean procedure, we make it possible for you to focus on the birth rather than surgery. Moms who opt for a family centered cesarean can view the birth through a clear plastic drape and have immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby.

A family centered cesarean is meant to improve the surgical experience for women who need a cesarean for various medical reasons, and does not serve as a replacement for vaginal births. The safety and well-being of you and your baby is our top priority, and to that end there are certain medical situations in which a family-centered approach would not be possible.

Induced Labor

For some women, labor must be induced for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, we are not able to determine early in your pregnancy whether you will need an induction, so we encourage all expectant parents to be prepared for the possibility. Induction is the starting of uterine contractions and labor by the use of vaginal and/or intravenous medications. Your obstetric care provider will discuss with you the reasons for and method to be used to induce your labor. Some reasons for inducement:

  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • One to two weeks overdue from expected delivery date
  • Rupture of membranes/amniotic sac (broken water) before labor begins
  • Suspected infection in the amniotic sac
  • Abnormal amount of fluid in the sac (high or low)
  • Mother’s medical condition, such as diabetes, chronic high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Concerns about the baby’s growth
  • Logistic factors (history of rapid labor, distance from hospital)