Labor and Delivery
Parenthood is an exciting journey, and labor and delivery will be the first of many memories. We’re here to make your experience as safe and comfortable as possible. Our Childbirth Centers are designed with your needs in mind, and our experienced teams are by your side at every step.
BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. You want your labor and delivery hospital to have the expertise to care for you and your baby in any situation. No matter where you deliver with us, our Childbirth Centers are staffed by obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists and neonatologists (or providers with immediate teleconsult access to these specialists). You can rest assured that you’ll be in the best hands at every step.
At our Childbirth Centers, you’ll find:
- Patient and family-centered care: We focus on you and your family throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Our expert staff listens to your birth plan and preferences for pain management. We do everything possible to make sure you have the birthing experience you want.
- Breadth of specialty services: We offer a wide range of care and support for all pregnancies and deliveries, including high-risk pregnancies and babies with fetal conditions. We also provide mental and emotional support services, including individual or couples therapy and screening and care for postpartum depression.
- Highest level of care available for baby: We offer the full range of newborn intensive care, including level II, III and IV NICUs. Our Level IV NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital provides the region's highest level of newborn care. Our NICUs directly connect to the labor and delivery unit. This makes it easy for you and your family to visit your baby while you recover from giving birth. If you deliver at a hospital without a NICU, we offer teleconsults and immediate transport to the appropriate NICU should your baby need more specialized care.
- Classes and events: We want you to feel prepared for your new baby’s arrival. That’s why we offer a range of classes and events, such as birth center tours, breastfeeding education and newborn care classes. It’s all part of how we give you and your little one the best possible start on this journey.
- Doula-friendly hospital environments: A doula is a trained professional who offers guidance, support and comfort during childbirth. If you choose to work with a doula, our care teams include your doula in your birth experience before, during and after labor. Please let us know if a doula is part of your birth plan.
You have many options when it comes to giving birth. Making a birth plan before labor and delivery ensures that your care team understands your wishes. And while not all deliveries go according to plan, we do our best to support your birth plan at every step.
Your birth plan describes how you want your birth experience to go. It can include your pain management preferences, who you would like with you during labor and delivery and whether you would like a natural birth.
Your care team will help you understand your birth and delivery options:
- Vaginal birth: You deliver your baby through your vagina (birth canal), not surgically, with or without medication.
- Scheduled Cesarean (C-section): We remove your baby through an incision in your abdomen if a vaginal delivery puts you or your baby at risk.
- Unplanned Cesarean: You and your provider may decide on a C-section if risks or complications arise during labor and delivery.
- Trial of labor after C-section (TOLAC) and Vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC): TOLAC is the process of having a vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC) in a past pregnancy. Talk to your provider if you’re considering a VBAC.
- Scheduled induction: We may plan to give you medication to start labor for medical reasons if you’re past your due date by two weeks or more.
- Natural childbirth: Natural childbirth means giving birth without pain medication. Relaxation techniques, birthing balls and hydrotherapy are pain relief alternatives.
Our goal is to provide a quiet, private environment where you can have a peaceful and joyful experience. Our labor and delivery rooms are designed with your needs in mind.
At some locations, we also offer dedicated antepartum (before delivery) rooms, recovery rooms and postpartum (after birth) mother and baby rooms. Other locations offer private rooms designed to cater to moms throughout the entire childbirth process. These locations provide a convenient, single destination allowing you to remain in the same room from admission through labor and delivery to recovery and postpartum, until discharge from the hospital.
We outfit our birthing suites with the comforts of home and all the necessary technology and capabilities to keep you and your baby safe. If you need an unplanned C-section, we have operating rooms immediately available.
Our luxurious birthing suites include:
Comfortable sleeper recliners and sofa beds for family members
TV with cable television access
Labor tubs (available in select hospitals)
Labor bars and birthing balls and stools
No matter which Childbirth Center you select, you’ll experience the highest level of care before, during and after your child’s birth. Each Center features spacious, private birthing suites, accommodations for an overnight guest, in-room dining options and other services and amenities to help you feel at home.
Experienced teams of obstetricians, midwives and nurses staff our Childbirth Centers. On-site or teleconsult specialty care provided by Washington University neonatologists and pediatric specialists from St. Louis Children’s Hospital is available 24/7. We have surgical suites, fetal monitoring technology and the capabilities to care for you and your baby in case of any complications.
If your baby needs intensive care, we immediately transfer them to one of our NICUs based on their medical needs. We also may recommend you give birth at one of these hospitals if we know your pregnancy is high-risk. These locations are:
- Level II NICU at Progress West Hospital
- Level II NICU at Memorial Hospital Shiloh
- Level III NICU at Missouri Baptist Medical Center
- Level IV NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital
After delivery, we help you bond with your baby. Specialized nurses monitor your baby’s health and ensure you’re comfortable and at ease. We help you take those first steps with your child, such as introducing skin-to-skin contact, diaper changes and breastfeeding. Certified lactation counselors or nurses are available to offer advice and answer questions about breastfeeding, pumping and breast care.
If your baby needs specialized care, our team of newborn medicine specialists and pediatricians is available 24/7. When necessary, we coordinate care with highly trained pediatric subspecialists from St. Louis Children’s Hospital. We provide the expert care your baby needs to be healthy and stay that way.