Your Maternity Journey Vol. 1

Your Maternity Journey Vol. 1

Things to Consider When Choosing Where and How to Have Your Baby

Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! Starting — or expanding — your family is a key milestone in life, and you are no doubt focused on delivering a healthy baby. You’re likely thinking more than ever about your nutrition, exercise, sleep, and healthy habits. It’s also a good time to think about where and how you’ll deliver your baby. Birthing centers and hospitals have differing maternity rules and practices, so it’s important to know what you want, and what’s available to you before it’s time to choose. Here are some questions to consider as you weigh your options.

Clinical Capabilities

  • Does the hospital have OBs and midwives?
  • Do they have in-house Maternity Hospitalists (Laborists) on hand 24/7 in case your OB or midwife is unavailable when it's time to deliver?
  • Do they allow doulas?
  • Is there a dedicated Operating Room ready if needed for C-sections?
  • Are anesthesiologists onsite if needed?
  • Is there a staffed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for babies who need extra support?

Birth Support

  • Do they provide or allow tools to assist in labor such as labor balls, foam rollers, peanuts, etc.?
  • Can you create your own birth plan? Will they respect and follow your wishes, as long as it’s safe for you and the baby?
  • What is available for pain management (local and regional anesthetics, alternative/natural approaches, TENS unit, nitrous oxide, etc.)?
  • Will they support you in having a natural delivery, if that is your choice?
  • Where do you labor, and can you walk around/be as mobile as you’d like?
  • Can you bring in things from home that help you feel comfortable?
  • What is the facility’s C-section rate, compared to the national average?


  • What are the rooms like, and will you need to move after delivery to another room?
  • Who can accompany you during labor and what’s the visitor policy during labor and after delivery?
  • Is there room for a partner to stay with you during the process?
  • How large is the labor room, does it have windows, and how is it equipped?

Lactation Support

  • Are they certified as a Baby Friendly Hospital that is committed to specific breastfeeding support?
  • Do they have certified Lactation Consultants to assist right after baby is born?
  • Is there any follow-up after you go home for questions about breastfeeding?
  • What is their success rate with breastfeeding, compared to the national average?
  • Do they have breast pumps and other lactation supplies for rent or purchase, onsite?

Not sure where you’ll deliver? See how MarinHealth Medical Center helps ensure that every birth is a special delivery.

As Marin’s only hospital resource for labor and delivery, we’ve been welcoming babies since 1952. In fall of 2020, we relocated our Maternity Care Department to our new Oak Pavilion in a beautifully appointed, state-of-the-art space that’s specially designed to enhance your safety, security, and comfort. Learn more.

Pregnancy is the Time to Put Yourself First

Growing another life inside you is exciting and amazing. But it can also be stressful, physically and mentally. Truly the best way to help your unborn baby is to help yourself to feel safe, calm, and comfortable. Self-care is more important than ever when you have more than just yourself to nurture. Here are some simple ideas to soothe your mind, body, and spirit.

  • Set some boundaries with family, coworkers, and friends so that you don’t get overscheduled.
  • Set aside time for meditation, guided relaxation, listening to music, reading, or other quiet time every day.
  • Go green and clean with beauty products — get rid of any that have harmful or questionable ingredients. Indulge in luxury all-natural lotion with an uplifting scent to nurture dry and stretched skin and calm your senses.
  • Try some prenatal yoga moves at home. Make sure you clear it with your doctor first, then try some safe and calming poses that will help you stay balanced.
  • Go for a walk. Getting some time outdoors every day is good for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Even a quick walk around the block is beneficial, and it can likely be safely done throughout your pregnancy.
  • Splurge on the freshest, more colorful, and healthiest produce you can find. Not only are these items packed with nutrients your body needs more than ever, they are also much more delicious than pre-packed salad mix.
  • Treat yourself to new sheets. Getting enough good quality sleep is more important than ever, and the right linens can help. It’s a little luxury that is good for you and your baby. You might also consider getting extra pillows or a full-body pillow that will support you in different positions for comfortable sleeping.