Labor and Delivery

labor and deliveryYou’ve waited nine months to meet your little one, and the time has finally come to welcome your baby into the world. Your team at Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon is here to ensure your labor and delivery experience goes as smoothly as possible. We fully understand that no two people experience labor and delivery quite the same way, and we are ready to help guide you along the journey, no matter what it may bring. We will also work with you to personalize your delivery plan.

Here is what you can expect during your labor and delivery so that you can focus on the joy of meeting your little one for the first time!

Signs of Labor

The main sign of labor is contractions that occur regularly, begin to last longer and longer, and become more intense. You should call your doctor or head to the hospital when they last a minute or longer and occur less than 5 minutes apart for at least an hour.

If your water has broken, which may happen in a gush or small spurts, you should call your doctor or go to the hospital, regardless of whether you are having contractions. It’s important to note that many women will not experience water breaking as a sign of labor.

Who is a Part of Your Labor and Delivery Team?

Once you get to the hospital, you may be surprised by how many people are involved in your labor and delivery experience. Here are some people other than yourself and your support person or persons who may help bring your baby into the world.

  • A doctor will be there to help deliver your baby. Your doctor will work to ensure you experience personalized care and attention during labor.
  • Your labor and delivery nurse will also be with you throughout your delivery experience. There are usually a few nurses in the delivery room, one to assist you with whatever you may need and another to care for your baby when they arrive.
  • An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist may also be in the delivery room. Their job is to provide safe and effective pain management for your delivery if you request it.

What to Expect During the Stages of Labor

Early Labor: Early labor is typically experienced at home and can last a few hours or a few days. During this stage, you will have mild to moderate contractions and may also experience cramping, diarrhea, or a backache. It is important to stay active during this stage of labor and drink plenty of fluids.

Active Labor: This is when your contractions intensify and occur at least every 5 minutes. You should come to the hospital to meet your birthing team during this time.

Transition: During transition, your contractions will occur every 2 to 3 minutes and last somewhere between 60 to 90 seconds. This stage of labor can be intense, so it is important to practice your breathing and rely on your support partner and birthing team because your baby will be here soon.

Time to Push: When it is time to push, your cervix will have become completely dilated, and your contractions will help push your baby down the birth canal to enter the world. This is the moment you have waited for – your baby will arrive soon after pushing begins.

After Your Baby Is Born

Right after your baby is born, your delivery team will immediately place your newborn on your chest so that you can start to bond through skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin is excellent for both you and your baby. Holding your baby directly on your chest without any clothing or blankets separating allows your baby to stay warm and helps regulate their breathing. Skin-to-skin contact also benefits you as it helps your body produce breast milk and increases oxytocin levels.

Shortly after delivering the baby, usually less than 30-60 minutes later, the placenta will be delivered. You will have some contractions to deliver the placenta, though they will not be as intense as labor contractions.

Labor Pain Relief

Prior to labor and delivery, you will discuss your pain management desires with your obstetrician. They will help you decide which options are right for you. An epidural is the most common pain control used for labor. It can be given at almost any time during active delivery except when you begin to push.

Many women choose to have a natural birth, where no pain medications are used. Your labor and delivery team will support you and will assist you with techniques like breathing exercises and massage.

Labor and Birth Aids

Our team supports and encourages free movement during labor to help manage your pain and shorten your labor time. There are plenty of tools and birth aids available to assist you with labor, including:

  • Birthing balls
  • Peanut balls
  • Pushing or squatting bars
  • Birth stools
  • Mirrors

What if I need a C-Section?

Sometimes, despite best-laid plans, a c-section may be required. This is often needed if the baby is experiencing distress, is in a breeched position, or there are concerns about maternal health. If a c-section is performed, you will likely be awake but numbed so that you can’t feel anything. You will still experience the joy of holding your baby after the procedure, provided the baby does not need additional care.

Plan Your Labor and Delivery Experience

No matter what your labor and delivery experience looks like, the team at Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon is here to help you along the way. If you are pregnant or hope to become pregnant soon, schedule an appointment to begin planning your labor and delivery experience.

Quick Facts
  • Personalized labor and delivery plans.

  • Support before, during, and after labor.

  • Experienced Labor and Delivery teams to assist you.

OB/GYN Doctors


“Great service. Dr. Shelton was my OB and delivered my son. He was always willing to answer questions and very knowledgeable. He was kind and courteous during delivery because let’s be honest… that’s not the most flattering moment in a woman’s life.” – BW

“Dr. Cohen is an amazing Dr. Along with her staff and the reception team it’s always a pleasant experience. I know I can call and leave messages for the team if I have questions or concerns. Dr. Cohen was with me through my whole pregnancy, rooting me on during delivery. Best team there could be.” – NP

“I absolutely love Dr. Kelly. I’m on my third pregnancy now and she has been my OB for all three. She’s always understanding and considerate when I need someone to talk too and she always makes sure I don’t have any additional questions before our appointment is over. She will ALWAYS be my recommended OB at the Women’s Health Center.” – KM