Vaginal Birth

What to Expect During Vaginal Delivery

In a vaginal birth, the most common type of delivery, the baby is born through the birth canal. Vaginal delivery is a natural process that usually does not require significant medical intervention. 

If you are having a vaginal delivery, you will be admitted to a birth suite in Labor & Delivery, where preparation for your delivery will begin.

If you are having an unscheduled delivery, go first to the hospital’s Assessment Center to find out if you are ready to be admitted to the hospital. 

Once you are admitted, you will be asked to dress in a hospital gown. A nurse will stay with you and keep your doctor informed of your progress. Talk to your nurse or doula about your pain management goals and if you wish to receive an epidural.

While in labor, you can have clear liquids, including water, apple juice, cranberry juice, grape juice, Jell-O and popsicles.

Immediately After Birth

Once your baby arrives, we encourage skin-to-skin contact to promote early bonding and support you if you choose to breastfeed. Soon after, a nurse will assess your baby through the following:

  • Obtaining weight, length and head size
  • Giving a vitamin K injection to help blood-clotting mechanisms remain normal
  • Placing an antibiotic ointment in your baby's eyes

You will be monitored for:

  • Vital signs
  • Post-anesthesia management (if applicable)
  • Pain control
  • Postpartal bleeding

Your recovery time will be approximately two hours, after which you and your baby will be transferred to a Mother/Baby room. Babies who have problems adjusting immediately after birth may be transferred to the transition nursery or to the Newborn and Infant Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU is designed and equipped for sick or premature infants who need constant medical and nursing care, or need to be closely watched.