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Your Birth Experience at Providence

When should I go to the hospital?
It's time to come to the hospital when: 
  • Your bag of water breaks or you are leaking fluid
  • You have a bloody discharge similar to starting your period
  • Contractions occur every 4-5 minutes for over 1 hour
  • Your doctor or midwife instructs you to do so
  • You notice your baby not moving as much as usual
Please call us at 212-3692 before you come to the hospital.  We can help you decide whether it's time for you to come in, and we can prepare for your arrival.  When you arrive, we will evaluate your progress and notify your doctor or midwife.
What will my room be like?
Our private birthing suites allow mom to labor, deliver, and recover for a period of time all in the same room.  Afterwards, moms will stay in the Mother Baby Unit until they are ready to go home.

Each Labor & Delivery room has a glider rocking chair, private shower & bathroom, cable tv, couch (pulls out into a bed for your support person), telephone, and birth ball.

Labor & Delivery Reminders 

Before your due date arrives, please don't forget to:
Register at Providence Alaska Medical Center
Please complete and return the pre-admission form as soon as possible.  You may mail or return the form directly to the admitting desk or the Maternity Center.
Arrange for pediatrician or family practitioner to care for your new baby
If your care provider is an obstetrician or midwife, she or he will take care of mom only--not the baby.  Please make these arrangements by your sixth month of pregnancy.  Our Find a Doctor link can help.
Complete childbirth classes
Plan to finish your classes by about your 36th week of pregnancy.  Click here for a complete list of childbirth and parenting classes.
Attend a tour of the Maternity Center
Tours are offered every Monday night from 6:30-7 pm and every Thursday and Saturday from 1:30-2 pm expect for major holidays.
Make baby sitting arrangements for your other children when you start labor
Please be aware that there are no childcare facilities in the Maternity Center.  If you wish to have children participate in the birth experience, you will need to make arrangements to have one adult per child (under 12 years of age) be present as their support person.  This is in addition to the mother's support person.  Young children cannot be allowed to remain by themselves in the waiting area or hallway.
Obtain a car seat for your baby
Remember, Alaska Sate Law requires all infants to be in a car seat.

Pain Management in Labor 

The Providence Maternity Center is commited to making labor & delivery as comfortable and as safe as possible.  This is the result of a mutal, ongoing, decision-making process based on input from you, your labor partner, your doctor or midwife, and your nurse.
Your options for pain management include:
Breathing, Relaxation & Massage Techniques
Breathing techniques help by calming and relaxing you as labor contractions intensify.  Our childbirth classes can help you harness the power of breathing to help you through your contractions.  There are many methods of patterned breathing techniques that can be very effective in labor.
Focusing on something other than contractions helps many women cope with labor.  Some women prefer an internal focus.  They visualize their bodies working for them, or mentally "remove" themselves to a pleasant and peaceful place.  Others prefer an external focus.  Concentrating on an object or a face, listening to taped music or soothing sounds of nature, or movement such as swaying, dancing or massage help many women cope.
Relaxation is one of the most important skills you can learn to reduce the pain and discomfort of labor.  When under stress, most people are unaware of how tense their necks, shoulders, arm, etc., really are.  The less your body has to "work" in these areas, the more progress it can make during each contraction.  Although you won't have a lot of time between contractions, you should try to rest and relax as much as possible between each one.
Labor coaches or support people can provide tremendous support during all phases of labor and childbirth.  Your support person can encourage you, help you with breathing and relaxation techniques, and keep you up-to-date on your progress.  He or she can massage your back, apply hot packs, give your ice chips and a cool washcloth on your forehead.  Your coach can also help you change positions, shower or walk around the room.
Professional labor support or doulas are available in the Anchorage area.  While not employees of the hospital, they can provide their services here.  For more information on doulas, click here.
Childbirth preparation classes can help prepare you and your coach for what to expect during labor.
Birth balls are available in the Labor & Delivery rooms for your comfort as well. Your nurse can help you use the balls.
Private showers are available in each room.  Water is a powerful pain coping tool.  Many women get a lot of pain relief in the shower.
Intravenous Medications
Pain medications are available to ease the stress of labor if you want or need them.  Depending on your wishes and how quickly your labor is progressing, your doctor or midwife may suggest an analgesic, which works by reducing pain and promoting relaxation between contractions.  Be sure to thoroughly discuss any possible side effects of these medications on you, your labor and your baby with your caregiver.
Another option for pain management is an epidural.  This involves an injection below the spinal cord, and works by blocking sensations in the abdomen, back, buttocks, perineum and legs.  Epidural blocks must be given by anesthesiologists.  Be sure to thoroughly discuss any possible side effects of epidurals on you, your labor, and your baby with your caregiver.  There is an additional fee charged for the specialized services of an anesthesiologist.  You may want to check with your insurance company to find out if any restrictions apply.

Cesarean Births 

Our philosophy of family-centered care does not change if you deliver by C-Section--planned or unplanned.  A C-Section can be somewhat frightening, so we take the time to fully explain what you can expect to happen and why.  We encourage you and your family to ask questions so everyone understands what's happening.
Providence Maternity Center has 2 complete operating rooms right on the Labor & Delivery unit.  Anesthesia doctors are available 24 hours a day.
During a C-Section, your partner is encouraged to remain by your side.  We will assign a hospital support person to help your partner every step of the way.  This support person will show your parnter how to put on scrubs (special clothing to wear in the operating room), wash their hands and will remain at your parnter's side throughout the birth.
If you are expecting to deliver your baby by a C-Section, we strongly encourage you to take one of our monthly C-Section Classes designed to walk you through every step of the birth of your baby.
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