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Pregnancy Planner

Having a baby is an event full of new experiences. We are delighted that you have chosen the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital for your baby's birth. This planner is intended to help keep you organized and informed of what to expect before, during, and after the birth of your baby. Learn more about giving birth at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Planning Ahead During Your Pregnancy

Pre-Admission Planning

We hope that the enclosed information helps you as you plan for the arrival of your new baby. Call the Obstetrical (OB) Admitting office at (617) 732-4005 if you have any questions.

  • Read "Having Your Baby at Brigham and Women's Hospital," which provides detailed information about what to expect when planning for your baby's birth.
  • Read "Communicating Your Future Health Care Wishes: Information About Health Care Proxy," which provides information on living wills. For more information about health care proxies, visit
  • Learn more about Massachusetts Law and length of stay after birth. Current law allows 48 hours for vaginal birth and 96 hours for cesarean birth.
  • Complete the enclosed pink registration form and postcard, choose a pediatrician (baby doctor) and mail back to OB Admitting. Ask your pediatrician if he or she is on staff at Brigham and Women's Hospital. If not, speak with your obstetrician/midwife to refer you to a pediatrician on staff at our Faculty Newborn Service. The physicians in the Faculty Newborn Service will provide all newborn care while your baby is in the hospital. When you and your baby are ready to be discharged, the physician will then transfer your baby's care to your baby's primary pediatrician that you have selected.
  • Call your insurance provider with any questions about your length of stay, and what services are covered for you and your baby. Ask if you need to call for pre-certification before you are admitted. Be sure to ask about your baby's coverage.
  • For financial concerns, call Patient Accounts at (617) 732-7485.
  • Sign up for Parent/Childbirth Education classes before your 24th week at our approved parent and childbirth education provider, Isis Maternity. Call (781) 429-1400 for information. You may also call this number to sign up for hospital tours and sibling classes at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
  • Read the Newborn Screening booklet and Hearing Screening information.
Planning for Hospital Discharge
  • Plan in advance for a ride home from the hospital. Discharge time is 10 a.m.
  • Purchase your baby's car seat in advance and bring it to the hospital the day before discharge. Refer to the seat's instructions for proper installation and operation.
  • Select your baby's "going home" outfit and wash it in mild detergent.
  • Arrange for help at home the first few days after you are discharged from the hospital.

Prenatal: As You Near Birth Day

Care for Mom and Baby
  • Continue to keep all your prenatal appointments, take your vitamins and eat a healthy diet. If you have nutritional needs and want to speak with a dietitian, call (617) 732-4224.
  • Contact your obstetrician/midwife's office immediately or come to the hospital if you experience any of the following:
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Persistent nausea and vomiting
    • Decreased fetal movement
    • Labor/abdominal pains lasting 5-10 minutes
    • Persistent, severe headache
    • Blurred vision
    • Swelling of the hands and face
    • Water breaks/leaking fluid
    • Temperature greater than 101 degrees
    • Persistent, severe heartburn
Evaluations and Education

At each visit, your health care provider will check the baby's heart rate, your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and urine. Certain tests will be done throughout your pregnancy such as an ultrasound, blood tests, GTT (test for diabetes), GBS (group B-strep), and others. Speak with your obstetrician/midwife if you have any questions. You can also read about these topics and others in the "Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Your Pregnancy," which was given to you by your obstetrician/midwife.

Other Services Available
  • If you ever feel unsafe or threatened, please call Passageway at (617) 732-8753 or (800) 722-5520 x8753, or SafeLink at (877) 785-2020. For Social Services, call (617) 732-6462 or contact your obstetrician/midwife's office.
  • Interpreter services are available for non-English speaking and hearing impaired patients. Please call (617) 732-6639 or TTY (617) 732-6642.
  • We strongly encourage you to attend parent/childbirth education classes. Learn more about our Parent and Childbirth Education Classes here.
  • You have the right to pain management during labor, birth and after the birth of your baby. Options include, but are not limited to, walking, showers, use of the labor ball, relaxation and breathing, epidural and spinal anesthesia. If you would like to see an anesthesiologist before you are admitted, please call (617) 732-8220.
  • Call (781) 429-1400 for a tour of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health.
Other Information
  • If for some reason your baby has to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the 6th floor, we will make every effort to take you there before you go to your postpartum room.

Postpartum: After Your Baby Is Born

Care for Mom and Baby
  • You will be transferred to one of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women's Health postpartum floors (CWN 8, 9 or 10) by wheelchair or stretcher with your baby. The nurse will take your blood pressure and pulse and check your uterus and vaginal bleeding. The postpartum nurse will tell you about your room and the floor activities. Pain medication is available; ask your nurse. DO NOT let anyone without a pink identification badge handle your baby. All staff who handle babies must have a pink ID. You and your baby have ID bands that are checked every time the baby is brought into the room.
  • Your baby can stay with you as much as you like or go to the nursery. We encourage your partner to spend the night in the sleeper chair in your room and participate in your baby's care.
Evaluations and Education
  • Blood tests will be performed on you and your baby before you go home.
  • If you have a boy, you will be given information about circumcision. Your obstetrician will do the circumcision unless you want a ritual circumcision. There are options for pain management for your baby during and after the circumcision.
  • We will help you take care of your new baby, however, we want you and your partner to participate as much as possible.
  • You should attend the following classes before you go home: Infant care/bath class, breastfeeding class and discharge class. The hospital's On-Demand TV also offers videos of these classes if you are unable to attend. Be sure you receive "A Guide for New Parents" before going home.
  • Watch the Newborn Channel for postpartum and newborn educational programs.
Other Services Available
  • Nursing bras and breast pump sales and rentals are available on the postpartum units. Please call (617) 732-7092 for more information.
  • Ask your nurse if you want to see a social worker, interpreter, dietitian, or chaplain/priest.
  • Please tell your family and friends with colds or any illnesses not to come to the hospital. Sick children or children exposed to chickenpox within the last 21 days are not allowed to visit.
  • Visitors are welcome between the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., but please keep in mind that this is a very important time for you, your partner and your new baby to get to know each other, so please limit the number of visitors. Children, other than siblings, are not permitted to visit.
  • It is very important for you to get your rest. A nursing care coordinator will visit you and discuss your discharge. You will be discharged 48 hours after a vaginal birth and 96 hours after a cesarean birth. Home visits may be available to you if you are discharged earlier. Discuss this with your nurse, obstetrician/midwife or health insurance provider.
Other Information
  • You must have a car seat to take your baby home. It is necessary to learn proper car seat use and placement prior to actual use. Call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK for the location nearest you where you can have your car seat checked for safe and correct placement in your car.
  • The day before you are to leave the hospital, arrange for a ride home. Discharge time is 10 a.m.
  • Arrange for help at home for a few days after you are discharged from the hospital.
  • Complete the birth certificate worksheet before discharge.
  • If there are paternity concerns, be sure to establish paternity before discharge. For information, call (800) 332-2733.

When You Are Home From The Hospital

When You Are Home From The Hospital

The birth of a baby brings about new feelings and special concerns. The experience varies from woman to woman. The most common feelings are related to fatigue, discomfort and emotional changes. Nap when your baby naps and accept help from friends, family or professional services. Remember to schedule an appointment for you and your baby for follow-up care. Your activities need to be limited for a while. Listen to your body for signs that you should slow down. Remember to rest often and eat a healthy diet.

Please call your obstetrician/midwife's office if you experience any of the following
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Increased vaginal bleeding or large clots
  • Red areas or tenderness on your breast
  • Severe headache
  • Unusual or foul smelling discharge
  • Cracked or bleeding nipples
  • Vaginal pain
  • Feelings that you cannot care for your baby
  • Persistent nipple or breast pain during feeding
  • Continual feelings of deep sadness
  • Sudden sharp pain in the chest or legs
  • A great deal of difficulty getting out of bed and facing the day
  • Burning or pain during urination
Please call your pediatrician if your baby experiences any of the following
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Dry diapers for over 12 hours
  • Increased irritability
  • No bowel movement for 24 hours
  • Feeding poorly
  • Black or bright red color in bowel movement
  • Yellow-tinged skin or eyes
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever over 100 degrees or under 97 degrees
  • Blueness around the lips, mouth, or eyes
BWH Phone Numbers
  • Obstetrical Admitting — (617) 732-4005
  • Patient/Family Relations — (617) 732-6636
  • BWH Patient Information — (617) 732-5500
  • BWH Physician Referral Service — (800) BWH-9999
  • Nutritional Services — (617) 732-6054
  • Social Services — (617) 732-6462
  • Lactation Services — (617) 732-8045
  • Anesthesia Consult — (617) 732-8220
  • Induction Time Check — (617) 732-4122
  • Interpreter Services — (617) 732-6639 or TTY (617) 732-6642
  • Passageway/Domestic Violence — (617) 732-8753 or (800) 722-5520 x8753
Additional Phone Numbers
  • Isis Maternity — (617) 264-ISIS (4747)
  • Poison Control — (617) 232-2120 or (800) 682-9211
  • Boston Children's Hospital ER — (617) 355-6611
  • SafeLink Hotline — (877) 785-2020
  • Child Support Enforcement/Paternity — (800) 332-2733
  • Warmlines Parent Resources Center — (617) 244-4636
  • Parental Stress Line — (800) 632-8188
  • WIC (Women, Infants and Children) — (800) 942-1007

What You Should Bring To The Hospital

For Labor and Birth
  • Socks
  • Water bottle
  • CD player
  • Camera and film
  • Relaxing CDs
  • Lip balm
  • Suckers/hard candy
  • Items/clothes for dad/partner
  • Robe
  • Massage items
  • Pillows
  • Reading materials
  • Phone numbers
  • Sport drinks/popsicles
  • Snacks for partner
For Postpartum
  • Toiletries
  • Nursing bras/pads
  • Clothes to go home
  • Two nightgowns/pajamas and bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Hair dryer
For Baby to go Home (be sure to wash clothes in a mild detergent)
  • Car seat
  • Undershirt
  • Outfit
  • Socks
  • Cap
  • Blanket
  • Bunting and/or sweater depending upon time of year

We supply pads and panties for you and diapers and clothes for your baby while you are in the hospital. At time of discharge, be sure you take home your Brigham and Women's Hospital knapsack.

Basic Layette and Supplies
  • 80-100 disposable diapers per week, 4-5 dozen if laundering yourself
  • 4 sleepers with feet
  • 3 hooded towels
  • Booties
  • 5 onesies/undershirts
  • Bunting or snowsuit
  • 2-4 receiving blankets
  • Hats
  • 6 bibs
  • 4 gowns
  • 4 wash cloths
  • 2 sweaters
  • Crib with waterproof mattress
  • Car seat
  • Diaper pail with locking lid
  • High chair
  • Changing table
  • Stroller
  • Bedding for crib (NO PILLOWS): 3 fitted sheets, receiving blanket/quilt
  • Plastic baby bathtub
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Baby nail file
  • Baby wipes
  • Digital thermometer
  • Baby soap/shampoo
  • Mild detergent to wash clothes


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