Labor & Delivery

Labor is a very personal experience, and we do all we can to honor each woman’s Birth Preferences Plan so she can have her baby, her way. Partners, older siblings, a doula, and whomever else the mother designates are welcome to attend the labor and birth. Barring any complications, women are free to labor in whatever position feels right to them.

We have planned everything to make labor and delivery as comfortable as possible:

  • Each of our spacious, private rooms has a private bath with a shower, television, comfortable chairs and tables, a rocking chair, and a warming table for the newborn. Cots are available for support people who wish to stay with the laboring woman overnight.
  • Wireless fetal monitoring allows women to move around without being tethered to a monitor. Intermittent fetal monitoring is also available if desired and clinically appropriate.
  • An anesthesiologist is on call to provide pain medication at the mother’s request.
  • While the hospital does not perform water deliveries, laboring women can request an AquaEez® spa or bring their own birthing tub.
  • Only one medical and/or midwifery student is allowed in the labor room at a time, and only with the mother’s permission.

Of course not every birth goes perfectly smoothly. We have personnel and a fully equipped operating room always at the ready to perform an unplanned cesarean section or other emergency surgery. For midwife-assisted births, there are clear protocols for when and how the doctor steps in.

When a baby is close to delivery, our nursing staff helps the mother find the most comfortable position for delivery. We practice the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed guidelines for delayed cord clamping. Right after birth, we place the baby on the mother’s breast for skin-to-skin bonding. Once mother and baby have recovered and enjoyed a bonding period, they are transferred to another private room for the rest of the hospital stay.

We encourage breastfeeding right away. Our Lactation Services staff is available to help with breastfeeding issues. In addition, we have certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) on staff. Our BabyNook Store sells breastfeeding supplies on site. Once baby has been fed and mother and baby have been moved to their new room, the mother has an opportunity to take part in her baby's first bath.

Getting Ready to Go Home

Before discharge, a woman can expect a few visitors from MarinHealth:

  • Our specially trained staff provides ongoing education to ensure each new family has the information and resources they need as they begin their new lives together.
  • Our expert postpartum nurses and certified lactation consultants are available to answer questions and assist women with breastfeeding issues.
  • A perinatal data coordinator visits the new parents to record the newborn's information and register the birth with the County of Marin, initiating the birth certificate process.
  • The MarinHealth Medical Center Audiology Department performs hearing screens on all our babies before discharge.
  • As a special treat for mom, a massage therapist from our Integrative Wellness Center is available to give her a massage!

If you are planning to deliver your baby at MarinHealth Medical Center, please help us prepare for your arrival by pre-registering.

Listen to OB/GYN Lizellen La Follette talk about MarinHealth Medical Center’s pro-woman, patient-centric approach to labor and delivery.

Labor & Delivery Fact Sheet

Why Have Your Baby at MarinHealth Medical Center?

It’s hard to think of a more life-changing experience than having a baby. Naturally, every woman has her own preferences as to how she wants to labor. At MarinHealth, we encourage you to fill out our Birth Preferences Plan and share it with us. We do our utmost to provide the birthing experience you desire, backed by all the expertise and advanced medical technology needed to help keep you and your baby safe.

On-Site Experts

  • On-site OB/GYN and pediatric hospitalists
  • Certified nurse midwives
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Access to board-certified UCSF Health perinatologists and neonatologists through our relationship with UCSF Health Benioff Children’s Hospital

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)

Many women prefer the nurturing, woman-centered approach of a midwife-assisted birth. We are one of the only hospitals in the Bay Area to have certified nurse midwives available 24/7.

Impressive C-section & VBAC Statistics

  • Our C-section rate for first time moms is well below the national average and one of the lowest in the Bay Area.
  • Our rate of vaginal births after a C-section (VBAC) is three times higher than the national average.

24/7 C-section Coverage

We have an operating room reserved for C-sections and an anesthesiologist and a dedicated surgical team is always on site.

Fully Equipped Level II NICU

Our top-notch neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has an in-house pediatric hospitalist specializing in the care of newborns, as well as 24-hour access to UCSF Health neonatologists.

Comfort & Privacy

We have spacious private rooms and bathrooms and a fold-out bed for partners and support people—a tub for laboring in warm water is also available.

Outstanding Support

Our breastfeeding rates are 99 percent (compared to the national average of 77 percent), and one of the highest in California. Our Lactation Services and BabyNook Store have been helping new mothers and infants adjust to breastfeeding for years, and a certified lactation consultant meets with you in the hospital and is available for breastfeeding support and questions once discharged. The BabyNook offers breast pumps for rental and purchase and is a great resource for both practical and playful items for new babies and moms. We also offer a great list of classes and support groups to help parents prepare before and after delivery.