Giving Birth

No matter which Dartmouth-Hitchcock location you choose, our providers will be there with you from the moment you arrive through labor, birth, and recovery.

Labor and delivery

If you think you are in labor, call your prenatal care team. The doctor or midwife on duty will decide whether you should meet him or her at their office, or go directly to the hospital.

When to call

  • Painful contractions or abdominal cramps are occurring less than five minutes apart for one hour.
  • Your water has broken (membranes have ruptured) in either a gush or small leakages.
  • Your baby's movements do not feel normal.
  • You have had direct trauma to your abdomen (fall, accident, or impact).
  • You have symptoms of headache or visual disturbances (spots before your eyes or blurred vision).

Caring for your newborn

Dr. Bonny Whalen, MD shares information about caring for your newborn.

Going home

You and your baby will be able to return home after both of these are true:

  • Your doctor or midwife determines that you are in good condition
  • A pediatrician has checked that your baby is generally healthy and eating well

By the time you are ready to go home, you should have a car seat already installed in your car. You should know how to operate the car seat before you arrive at the hospital. If you have any questions about the car seat, please ask us for advice before you leave for home.

Checkups

Babies usually see their own pediatrician 2-3 days after discharge from the hospital. We highly recommend that you select a pediatrician before your birth.

Most women have a follow-up visit with their doctor or midwife six weeks after leaving the hospital. In some cases, you may be asked to return sooner than a six-week visit.