Labor and delivery
Read about what to expect when it’s time to give birth at the Family Birth Center at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, part of Montage Health. You deserve healthcare that honors your strength and choices. Thank you for trusting us to be part of your labor and birth, and know we will always treat you with respect and compassion.
Signs of labor
When your body is getting ready to give birth, you may experience:
- Lightening – Your baby drops lower into your pelvis
- Vaginal discharge – Loss of the mucus plug when the cervix starts to dilate (open)
- Water breaking – Rupture of the amniotic sac of fluid around the baby that causes vaginal leaking or wetness
- Contractions – Strong, painful cramps of the uterus that help push your baby out. Contractions get longer and stronger, happening closer together, during labor
What should I do when labor starts?
When your labor starts, contact your doctor to let them know and come to the Family Birth Center. Bring a bag packed with the items you want with you at the birth center.
Arriving at the birth center
View directions to the birth center, valet hours of availability, parking information, and other helpful resources for patients and visitors. For your convenience, after you register to give birth at the birth center, you’ll receive a “stork pass” in the mail. Hand it to valet staff if they are present when you arrive so you can go directly into the birth center while they park your vehicle.
Your support team
In addition to our experienced team in your labor and delivery room, you may choose to have:
- Your primary birthing partner/support person. Your primary support person can stay with you throughout your labor and stay overnight in the birth center after your baby is born
- One additional support person, such as a doula, who can be present for labor. After your baby arrives, this person may return to visit
Contact us about our current visitor policies before your stay because they may change.
How long will labor last?
Every labor and delivery is unique and progresses in its own time. Your birth center team believes you should not feel rushed or judged in any way during labor. It’s our role to affirm your decisions and ensure your comfort so you feel secure and supported.
You and your baby's well-being are our only priority at the birth center. Your nurse will:
- Monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration (breathing rate), and temperature
- Perform exams to check the progress of your labor
- Test if the amniotic sac (bag of fluid around the baby) has broken
We use cordless and waterproof mobile fetal monitoring. This technology tracks your contractions while you move around as much as you like.
Your large, private room offers:
- Birthing bed that supports different labor and birthing positions so you can move freely and find what feels best to you
- Multiple lighting options
- Private restroom with shower seating
- Window with nature views, including the beautiful Del Monte Forest, you can open for fresh air
Comfort measures and pain relief
Select what’s best for you when it comes to giving birth and easing discomfort during labor. Our team will respect your preferences and birth plan. You may wish to:
- Use our birthing support supplies, such as birthing stools, peanut balls, or squat bars
- Move freely
- Do breathing exercises
- Listen to music
- Take a warm shower
- Use an icepack or hot pack
Medications, nitrous oxide, epidurals, and other options are also available.
Cesarean birth (C-section)
We're able to help most women deliver vaginally, and our C-section rate is lower than the state of California and national averages. Giving birth vaginally has benefits for you and your baby, but may not be possible in some cases, and that’s okay. Trust that our trained surgeons are ready any time, day or night, to provide skilled care when needed. We’re equipped to perform planned and unplanned Cesarean births, the surgical delivery of a baby through an incision in the abdomen.
When your baby arrives
Welcome your little one to the world! Find out what to expect after you give birth and during your remaining time at the Family Birth Center.