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Maternity FAQs

DeKalb Medical is among the largest birthing hospitals in Georgia, and we take pride in providing the best possible birth experience for every mother and baby. We hope these frequently asked questions help you plan for this special time in your life. More detailed DeKalb Medical Maternity Services FAQs on labor and delivery and the Mother-Baby unit is provided as part of the tour of our facilities. Read more about information on patient and visitor services in the hospital.

How do I prepare for the arrival of my baby?

DeKalb Medical offers a variety of classes to help parents know what to expect, prepare for baby’s arrival and be ready for baby at home. Read more for a list of classes or call us at 404.501.WELL.

Can I tour the facility?

We offer tours of our Maternity Center on a regular basis and encourage you and your support person to take this tour by 34 weeks in your pregnancy. Read more about registering for a tour or view a video tour.

What if my pregnancy is high-risk?

While we give all our mothers and babies special attention, some do require greater medical care. The Women’s Center at DeKalb Medical can handle complications, including conditions such as multiple births, premature labor, gestational diabetes or premature rupture of membranes. We also have a special area known as an Antepartum Unit for women with high-risk pregnancies who require bed rest or other ongoing medical attention before their baby is born.

Should your baby require extra attention, DeKalb Medical at North Decatur offers the second largest neonatal nursery in Georgia with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Often called an NICU, this nursery is for babies who are born early or those who need heart monitoring, special medications or assistance breathing. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their baby’s care while the newborn is in our NICU.

How do I pick a pediatrician?

Choosing the right doctor to give you advice about your baby’s health and well-being as well as care for your sick baby is an important decision. Read more about a free physician referral or list of pediatricians affiliated with DeKalb Medical or call us at 404.501.WELL.You also may want to ask your obstetrician and family and friends for recommendations.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right one.

  • Start searching for a pediatrician before your baby is born to give yourself time to interview several doctors in person. Evaluate your doctor’s communication skills and bedside manner. Choose someone you feel comfortable talking to and have a rapport with.
  • Consider the location of the pediatrician’s office. Do you want it close to home or work?
  • Find out the doctor’s office hours and how after-hours calls are handled.
  • Ask the pediatrician if he or she has privileges at DeKalb Medical as well as a children’s hospital in your area.

How do I preregister?

To streamline your admission process, you should complete your hospital preregistration before your 32nd week of pregnancy. We include an opportunity to preregister as part of our maternity tours. Read more about online preadmission, or call 404.501.1389 to make arrangements for preregistration. After the Patient Access department reviews your completed form, you’ll receive a confirmation letter of your registration. If any information changes, bring the updated information with you when you come to deliver your baby.

What are my birthing options?

At DeKalb Medical, we offer several birthing optionsand encourage natural comfort methods that you learn about in your childbirth preparation classes (CBP). Birthing balls, squat bars and jacuzzis are available, and complementary therapies such as aromatherapy or acupressure are welcome. Extra support persons such as a birthing coach or doula also are welcome.

What are my pain relief choices?

If you choose to receive pain relief, anesthesia is administered by our anesthesiologists who are available around-the-clock. There are intravenous (IV) pain medications that can be used in labor. Discuss pain control options with your doctor. Childbirth Preparation classes also talk about pain relief choices for labor.

What happens if I need to have a cesarean birth?

If the need arises to deliver your baby surgically, our surgical suites are adjacent to our Labor-Delivery-Recovery suites. In most cases, your partner is permitted to join you in a cesarean birth.

Who can be in the labor room with me?

Who you want with you during delivery is a personal decision. However, the safety and comfort of you and your unborn baby, we request up to three people be in your room at the same time. Visitors can trade off as you desire and should use the alcove just outside your room. We discourage visitors from gathering in the hallways. An additional waiting area is on the first floor of the Women’s Center. Generally, one support person is allowed during a cesarean birth.

Can my other child or children be with me in the room?

Discuss your wishes with your physician. If he or she is in agreement, you may have baby’s brothers and sisters in the room if they are age 12 or older. A responsible adult, other than your support person, who is sensitive to their needs must remain with them at all times.

Where do I park?

Parking is located under the Women’s Center. Signs direct the driver to ample parking under the building. Once parked, take the elevator to Maternity admission on the second floor. There is a nominal charge for parking. Multi-use passes are available from the parking attendant.

What do I bring?

Remember to bring your photo identification and insurance card when you come to the hospital. It’s best to have two bags packed – a small one for labor and delivery and a larger one for you and baby during your hospital stay. Suggested items to pack for labor and delivery include:

  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Socks
  • Snacks for support person
  • Massage tools
  • Robe and slippers
  • Pediatrician’s name and phone number
  • Extra pillows
  • Phone numbers for family and friends
  • Laptop, cell phone and camera chargers or other cables

The bag for you and your baby might include:

  • Personal care items and cosmetics
  • Nightgowns, robe and slippers
  • Underwear and nursing bras
  • Loose-fitting outfit to wear home
  • Outfit for baby’s newborn picture
  • Outfit for baby to wear home

It's a good idea to leave valuables such as jewelry, credit cards and large amounts of cash at home. The hospital cannot be responsible for your personal belongings. Be sure to have a properly installed car seat. Our staff is not trained to evaluate car seats and place your baby into them. On the day of your discharge, the person driving you and your baby home is responsible for having the car seat correctly installed and for placing your baby into it properly.

How long can I stay in the hospital?

How long you are in the hospital after your baby is born depends on your health and your specific insurance coverage. Generally, mothers stay 24 to 36 hours after a vaginal birth and 48 to 60 hours after a cesarean birth. If you are going home in the morning, plan for discharge around 10 a.m. There are circumstances that may requires you or your baby to stay later in the day so be sure to talk to your Mother-Baby nurse about a specific time.

Are the Mother-Baby rooms private?

Each Mother-Baby room is private and offers a relaxed, spa-like environment, including a private bathroom with a shower. The rooms include amenities such as vanity stations, window seat couches, and wireless Internet service.

Is there Internet access?

Wi-fi is not currently available as we are updating our system to meet your needs. Use of hotspots and personal data plans is welcome.

Can I use my cell phone?

Cell phones may interfere with some medical equipment so we discourage their use in the patient care areas. Each room does have a phone that can be used to place a local call at any time. A calling card is needed for long-distance calls. Friends and family may reach your room by calling the main number at 404.501.1000and asking for your room.

How many visitors can I have in my Mother-Baby room?

While we don’t recommend a specific number of visitors, we do encourage you to use this time to rest and learn to care for yourself and your new baby. In general, visiting hours are from 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Except for brothers and sisters of the new baby, no children under age 12 may visit. When siblings do visit, please ensure that they are not sick and have not been recently exposed to any contagious diseases. Another adult, other than you, must be present to supervise the siblings.

Can someone spend the night with me?

One adult may stay overnight with you. A window seat couch also serves as a sleeping area for your support person. Siblings are not allowed to spend the night under any circumstances. Meals are provided only for patients. Guests may dine at the Subway® enjoy a Starbucks® coffee on the first floor of the Women’s Center, the cafeteria on the ground floor of the main hospital building or at Chick-fil-A® on the first floor of the Professional building. Chick-Fil-A is only open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

How do I know my baby will be safe?

DeKalb Medical employs a state-of-the-art infant security system that will be explained to you after you give birth. Also, everyone who cares for you and your baby wears a DeKalb Medical identification badge that includes their photo.

Will someone help me with breastfeeding?

All Mother-Baby staff are trained to assist with basic breastfeeding. DeKalb Medical offers a complete Lactation Center to support breastfeeding mothers while they are in the hospital and after they go home. The Lactation Center, located in the Mother Baby Boutique, also offers breast pump sales and rentals, nursing bras, nursing apparel and other breastfeeding products. When you go home, a Lactation Center staff member is available by calling 404.501.5787.

What happens when I go home?

You will be full of questions when you leave DeKalb Medical with your new baby. But, you can rest assured that we will provide you with plenty of information to care for yourself and your new baby the first few weeks. Our discharge packet is extensive and answers every question you can imagine. Your nurse will explain how to take care of your episiotomy or incision from a cesarean delivery and will review other personal hygiene questions. Your doctor will provide instructions to ensure you’re healing properly.

Do you have classes for new moms?

DeKalb Medical offers several classes and support groups specifically for new mothers. Read more about a complete class listing or call 404. 501.WELL. Classes include:

  • Baby Talk: Discussion group for breastfeeding mothers led by an international board-certified lactation consultant.
  • New Moms Group: Support group for mothers and babies offers camaraderie and information of interest to the new mother.

Are there specific regulations about naming my baby?

When it comes to naming your baby, the Vital Records Division of the Department of Public Health is committed to honoring the cultural practices of the parents' homeland. For most people, the baby's last name will be the father's last name. However, if your family comes from a land with an established tradition that calls for a different surname to be used, please be sure to explain this when you meet with the birthing clerk at the hospital. We want to make sure that your baby's name will appear on the official birth certificate exactly as you wish.

If your baby's birth certificate has already been made out and you would like to change the surname to fit the cultural traditions of your family homeland, please write the Division of Vital Records at 2600 Skyland Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319-3640 or call 404.679.4702. If the name is changed, we will be happy to provide you with a free copy of the amended certificate.

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