Labor & Delivery

Experts to support you in welcoming your new arrival

At Winchester Hospital, our care team works together to provide you with a safe, family-centered, personalized childbirth experience. You have lots of choices and options during labor and childbirth, and we're here to support you every step of the way. Together, we partner with you and your family to make decisions.

Learn what to expect about your stay at Winchester Hospital.

We provide language assistance and interpreter services for those who need support.

Services We Offer

Our experienced team provides the full range of services for the duration of your pregnancy, delivery and after the birth of your baby, including:

  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Doula support
  • High-risk pregnancy care
  • Intervention options during childbirth
  • Parent education classes and programs
  • Water tub labor room

Baby Friendly Designation

We are proud to be a Baby Friendly hospital. This designation means we actively take steps to promote breastfeeding for those who choose to do so.

Pain Relief Options

We offer a number of options to make your labor more comfortable, including:

  • Epidurals available round-the-clock, day or night
  • General anesthesia (in the event of an emergency)
  • Nitrous oxide which you inhale through a mask
  • Pain medications to provide relief
  • Relaxation techniques to manage labor pain

Our anesthesiology staff is extremely sensitive to the comfort level you desire during labor and childbirth. They're here to meet your comfort needs and answer any questions you may have.

What To Expect

Read on for details about what you and your support person can expect while at the hospital to deliver your baby.

Suggested Packing Lists for the Hospital
For You
  • Health and beauty items, such as deodorant, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a brush/comb
  • Bras and nursing bras for breastfeeding (we’ll provide sanitary napkins and stretch panties after delivery)
  • Sports bra or two-piece bathing suit (optional for hydrotherapy tub)
  • Nightgowns, a robe and slippers
  • A breastfeeding pillow
  • Pen and paper
  • A cell phone charger
  • The Birth Certificate Worksheet from your pre-admission packet 
Please do not bring large amounts of cash, credit cards, jewelry or other valuables.  
For Your Baby
  • One undershirt
  • One outfit
  • One light blanket (summer)
  • One bunting or heavy blanket (winter)
  • A car seat

During your pregnancy, you should choose a pediatrician for your baby. You will need to have selected a pediatrician in order for your baby to be discharged. Be sure they’re in your insurance network and bring their contact information to the hospital with you when you’re in labor.

For Your Partner or Support Person
  • Health and beauty items, such as deodorant, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a brush/comb
  • Two changes of comfortable clothing, such as pajamas, a sweatsuit, a robe and/or slippers
  • Money for vending machines
  • A cell phone and charger 
Arriving at the Hospital

Enter through the Emergency Department. Self-parking and valet parking are free. Please check in at the registration desk by the emergency department prior to coming to labor and delivery.

Valet parking is available at Winchester Hospital’s main campus for patients and visitors. The service is offered seven days a week from 8 am to 5 pm, with the exception of some holidays. Drivers may access the valet parking service via the west entrance from Fairmount Street, then follow the orange signs to the drop-off/pick-up area (near the hospital’s Emergency Department).

Labor & Delivery Rooms & Hydrotherapy

You will begin in the Labor & Delivery unit, located on the second floor. Labor & Delivery features private rooms. In those rooms, you'll labor, deliver your baby and recover for the first two hours after birth.

Each Labor & Delivery room offers:

  • Accommodations for your support person’s overnight stay
  • Phone
  • Private bathroom with shower
  • TV

If you require a cesarean section, you’ll move to an operating room located on the Labor & Delivery unit.

Throughout your childbirth experience, a highly qualified, maternal-child nurse will be with you to provide expert clinical care, guidance, non-invasive comfort measures and emotional support. For your safety and comfort, Winchester Hospital provides an in-house obstetrician should your primary obstetrician not be immediately available. Doulas are welcome.

Hydrotherapy/Therapeutic Tub

To make your birthing experience as comfortable as possible, we have a hydrotherapy tub available in Labor & Delivery. If you're interested in using the labor tub, speak with your obstetrician about whether it’s safe for you.

The tub is located in a private, relaxed setting with light dimmers for comfort and relaxation. The hydrotherapy tub promotes muscle relaxation and decreases discomfort. It enhances cervical dilation, increases the rate of fetal descent, decreases the use of Pitocin augmentation, and reduces the use of medication and epidurals.

First Two Hours After Birth

Our family-centered care concept allows for parent-newborn interactions in the early recovery period, so you can get acquainted with your baby in the privacy of your own room. We encourage initial skin-to-skin contact at birth and in the operating room (if a cesarean delivery) for at least one hour.

If you choose to breastfeed, we provide support for your initial and ongoing experience. We recommend that you and your significant other take the time in the initial hours after birth to bond with your newborn alone.

When you hold your newborn skin-to-skin, you:

  • Release hormones that assist with bonding and healing
  • Soothe your newborn
  • Warm your newborn

When you keep your newborn with you, they:

  • Cry less
  • Feed better
  • Feel less pain when held skin-to-skin for at least 20 minutes before any procedures

The physical and emotional needs of newborns and parents are met when they're kept together as much as possible. Feedings should begin within the first hour or two after birth.

If your baby goes to the nursery, you should start pumping or breastfeeding within three to six hours after birth. Peak sucking movements have been noted from 45 minutes to two hours of age and are mostly absent at 2½ hours of age.

Keeping your baby with you during your stay is the best way to learn how to care for yourself and your newborn. Your caregivers will support you as you get used to caring for your baby and will offer assistance as needed. We encourage you to ask your family for help as well.

Moving to the Mother Baby Unit

Once you've recovered for about two hours after delivery, you'll transfer to the Mother Baby unit, also located on the second floor. You'll have your baby in the room with you. Research shows it’s best for you and your baby to stay together in the same room. We have a nursery available, if needed.

We provide sleeper chairs/cots for your support person to spend the night. In most cases, you'll have a private room. Occasionally, due to the number of patients in labor, we may have to use our semi-private rooms.

Inpatient Lactation Service

All our nurses have undergone specialized training to support you with breastfeeding if that's what you choose to do. If you plan to breastfeed, we encourage you to attend a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy. We'll provide you with a hospital-grade breast pump to use while you’re in the hospital.

If you face challenges with breastfeeding and need additional support, we offer International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) for consultation seven days a week.

Visitors, Phone Calls & Videotaping

Winchester Hospital will not give out information about your condition to anyone. We recommend you choose one person for your friends and family to call for updates about your labor and delivery status. That way, only one person will be checking in with you during your labor.

Visitation Policies

After delivery, we recommend limiting visitors to allow you and your newborn time to recover and bond. You'll use this time to learn how to care for yourself and your newborn prior to going home. We recommend planning a quiet block each day and asking visitors not to come during that time.

Siblings are welcome to visit you and your baby in the hospital if accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. To ensure you and your baby have adequate time to bond and receive care, siblings are not allowed to remain at the hospital under your supervision alone. For the health and safety of all our families, children are not allowed to spend the night.

Visitors should be free of any illnesses, such as colds, flu or contagious diseases. It's very important that anyone who touches your baby first washes their hands thoroughly with soap and water or uses hand sanitizer. Some advice to give children when they're washing is to sing Happy Birthday to themselves and wash until the song ends. By doing this, they are washing for a long enough period of time to kill any germs.

Videotaping & Photos

We don't allow videotaping and photography of any kind during the delivery process. To protect the privacy of other patients, we don't allow videotaping or photography at the nursery window or in the hallways. You can take videos and photos in the privacy of your own room after the birth of your baby.

Special Celebrations While in the Hospital

We offer you and your partner or support person a special Stork Dinner to celebrate the arrival of your baby. You can order a gourmet dinner for two served in the privacy of your room. There is a charge for this meal. Please ask your diet aide for more information. We recommend you order this meal in the morning on the day before you are discharged.

We also offer a dessert cart for you and your support person. The dessert cart visits the unit on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Car Seat Safety & Going Home

Your health care providers will typically see you and your baby in the early morning. Once they've deemed you both ready for discharge, your nurse will complete the necessary paperwork and go over discharge instructions with you.

Massachusetts state law requires all children be restrained in a car seat. You must have an appropriate car seat for your infant prior to discharge. This car seat must be less than six years old. Since there are many car seat models, we recommend you read the instructions and practice installation in your car prior to your baby’s birth.

Many local police and fire departments offer free car seat safety checks by appointment. Contact your local police or fire department’s nonemergency line to see when you can bring your car and car seat to them for a safety check.

Insurance Information

In most cases, you need to inform your insurance company of your pregnancy for preapproval of your hospital stay. Your insurance company could deny your coverage if you fail to inform them in advance.

Under normal circumstances, most insurance providers allow for a 48-hour (two-day) hospital stay after vaginal delivery and 96-hour (four-day stay) after a cesarean birth. If you have any questions, please contact your insurance company.

Before admission, contact your insurance company or health maintenance organization (HMO) so you can choose a pediatrician within your health plan. You'll need your pediatrician’s name when you're admitted for delivery.

If you don’t have insurance or feel you may have trouble managing hospital expenses, please contact Patient Financial Services at 781-756-2427.

Postpartum Resources

The postpartum period can be a challenging time. If you're struggling, know that you’re not alone. Reach out for help and consult these resources.

Notice of Your Rights When You Have a Baby
While You're in the Hospital
  • You have the right by law to stay in the hospital with your baby for 48 hours after giving birth vaginally or 96 hours after birth if you have a cesarean birth.
  • The hospital may not send you and your baby home between 8 pm and 8 am, unless you ask to leave during that time.
If You Choose to Leave Early

You have the right to at least one home visit by a nurse. A home visit is voluntary. If you don’t want one, please let your nurse know.

The Case Management Department will initiate the referral for your home visit within 48 hours after you leave the hospital.

For More Information

If you have any questions about your rights under this law, talk to your doctor, or nurse, or call the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality at 617-753-8000, Monday through Friday, 8:45 am to 5:00 pm.

For Complaints

If you feel your rights have been denied under this law, you may call the Department of Public Health at 800-436-7757 or TD TTE 800-439-2370, 24 hours a day. 

Be Prepared for Parenthood

We offer a variety of childbirth and parenting classes and education, including Care of the Newborn, Childbirth Classes, Hypnotherapy, Breastfeeding and a Nursing Mothers Support Group.