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New Life Unit/Obstetrics


At our New Life Unit we believe that the birth of a child is one of life's most precious miracles. Our goal is to enhance this experience and make it a very memorable occasion. The New Life Unit at Meadville Medical Center brings new technology, safety, and comfort to growing families. Even before entering the New Life Unit for the birthing experience, area women are receiving excellent gynecological and prenatal care from an expanded staff of physician specialists. When the time arrives, patients and their families find a safe and comfortable environment in the New Life Unit with LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, post-partum) suites fully equipped with the latest birthing techniques including a central fetal monitoring system. Family-centered maternity care is basic to our philosophy, and because of this we offer programs to all family members in the hope of preparing everyone for the new arrival.

The New Life Unit is designed to provide a safe, homelike atmosphere where families can participate as little or as much as they like in the birth of their child. Our LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, and post-partum) rooms enhance the birth experience, allowing for complete privacy and making it possible for Moms to stay in the same room throughout the entire birthing process.

All expectant mothers are admitted to a private suite known as an LDRP where they labor, deliver, recover, and complete their stay in the same room. This service provides greater opportunities for family togetherness, early infant bonding and patient convenience all in a safe home-like atmosphere.

Our special childbearing rooms are equipped to handle the entire vaginal birth experience and all forms of pain relief including continuous labor epidurals. Fetal monitoring, infant resuscitation, and mobile radiant infant warmers to stabilize the newborn's temperature after birth are provided in each suite.

Each LDRP is furnished with a birthing bed, pull-out bed for fathers/significant others, bassinet, rocking chair, bathroom, phone, T.V., and most of all privacy so that the new brothers, sisters, and grandparents can greet the new baby in this pleasant environment shortly after delivery.

For emergency Cesarean births, a delivery/ Cesarean room is available within our Labor Delivery-Recovery area.

The following information explains some of the procedures and services of the New Life Unit to help prepare you for your stay, and to supplement the instructions your doctor will provide. Please communicate with us anytime. Registered nurses with special training in maternity care are available to answer your questions. Just call (814) 333-LIFE.

In order to streamline the admission procedure, we ask you to complete a pre-registration form and return it to the admitting office at Meadville Medical Center (Liberty Street) by your eighth month of pregnancy. You will receive this form during your prepared childbirth classes. When you return it to the hospital, please complete and sign any necessary insurance papers. That way when you come to the hospital in labor, you can be admitted directly to the New Life Unit. One telephone call from the nurses to the admitting office to confirm your arrival time and date is all that is necessary when it is time for the big event.

We also encourage you to make your business arrangements in advance to help ease your mind and ensure proper billing. If financial assistance is necessary, our patient accounts manager will assist you in developing a payment plan to meet your needs. Simply phone (814) 333-5000 and ask for the patient accounts manager.

Onset of Labor
When you think you are in active labor, contact your physician and the New Life Unit at (814) 333-LIFE. Questions you may be asked by the nurse at the time of your phone call are:

  • Your name and date the baby is due.
  • Time your contractions began.
  • Frequency of contractions.
  • How contractions feel (i.e., cramping, backache).
  • Whether or not you think your water has broken.
  • If you have a pink or bloody discharge.
  • What number baby it is for you. (How many children you have previously had.)

Coming to the Medical Center
You may enter the hospital and come directly to the New Life Unit on the third floor of the Liberty Street facility. If your labor seems to be progressing rapidly or it is between 8:00pm & 7:00am, please enter through the main entrance located near the Emergency Department. There will always be someone there to assist you and to escort you to the New Life Unit.

Your admitting nurse will assess your progress in labor and initiate the admission process. You should discuss your prenatal educational class background and any special choices you have made with your doctor as the nurse admits you.

Admission procedures such as intravenous therapy and electronic fetal monitoring are dependent upon your physician's orders. You should discuss these things with your doctor during your pregnancy so you will know what to expect during your labor. Remember, once you are in active labor, solid foods are not permitted to be eaten. You may, however, take ice chips and clear liquids as desired during labor.

The following check list may be useful in reminding you what to bring to the hospital:

  • Toiletries (deodorant, shampoo, tooth brush & paste)
  • Cosmetics
  • Slippers
  • Nightgowns & Robe
  • Cases for eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution
  • Bras (nursing bras if breast feeding)
  • Your clothing for the trip home
  • Clothing for the baby's trip home (appropriate for the weather)

Please do not bring large sums of money, jewelry or other valuables to the hospital. The hospital provides sanitary napkins and disposable panties for you as well as disposable diapers, wipes, baby bath, and lotion for your baby.

The Family Birthing Experience
You may find the actual labor and delivery quite different from what you now expect. Generally, mothers who are prepared and have close, personal support have a more positive experience in childbirth.

Expectant mothers are admitted to private suites known as LDRP's (labor, delivery, recovery, post-partum rooms) which are designed to provide a relaxing atmosphere so they can appreciate the birthing experience. Our birthing beds adjust to various labor and delivery positions for maximum comfort. Contemporary decor and furnishings add to the homelike environment.

Photographs and camcording by the support person after the birthing experience are permitted in the LDRP's.

During active labor, you will be closely monitored by your coach/support person, your labor, delivery nurse, and your doctor. If your family desires to be close by for the birth of your baby, they may wait in a nearby visitors lounge. After the birth of your new little miracle, they can then be the first to see you and the new family addition. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Many mothers plan to avoid drugs during labor and delivery; however, should medication be desired, all forms of pain relief except general anesthesia may be accommodated in the LDRP's, with your doctor's orders. A cesarean delivery room is within our labor and delivery suite for emergency cesarean births. Each LDRP has the capacity for fetal monitoring and infant stabilization.  Mobile radiant warmers are also available.

As soon as possible after your baby's birth, you will be encouraged to touch, hold, and cuddle your baby to begin the important process of bonding. Only two vital procedures will take priority over this: removing any mucous from the baby's mouth and nose so it won't interfere with breathing, and drying and covering the baby to prevent heat loss. Babies are unique individuals from the moment of birth. Studies have shown they can see, smell, feel, and recognize their mother's and father's voices.

A breast-feeding mother is encouraged to put her baby to breast as soon as desired after delivery.

Erythromycin will be instilled into your baby's eyes within the first hour after birth. This is required by the State Department of Health.

You are encouraged to walk and move as soon as you desire and feel able to do so. You should have assistance to the bathroom the first time. Cold packs and sitz baths will be provided to you according to your physician's orders.

After birth, you will remain in the LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, post-partum room). Your nurse will monitor your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure; the firmness and position of your uterus; and the amount of bleeding (lochia). Lochia is the vaginal discharge after delivery which lasts up to 6 weeks. It is bloody in color at first and gets lighter in color and amount over time.

Your baby's vital signs will also be monitored closely, and he/she will be kept in a nearby "warmer" to prevent body heat loss.

Remember, you are responsible for choosing your baby's physician prior to your admission to the hospital.

Mother-Baby Concept
At the New Life Unit, we believe in the "mother-baby" concept of family centered nursing. This means that we encourage you to keep your baby with you in your room.

Watching how your nurse cares for your baby in your room helps you gain experience in caring for your newborn. Your nurses will offer their expertise and guidance as you later care for your baby yourself. This Mother-Baby concept gives Mom time to gain confidence in her mothering skills before leaving the hospital.

For the safety of the baby, we ask you or your family to return the baby to the crib or cradle when not being held. Never leave the baby unattended on your bed or in your room. Notify your nurse if you need to leave your room and another family member is not present to stay with the baby.

A nursery is available for sick babies, babies needing extra care, or if you need to rest.

Visitors to the New Life Unit
Recommended visiting hours are from 11:00am to 8:00pm. Fathers are permitted to stay the night with mom and baby following guidelines provided by your nurse. We ask that siblings and any visitors be free from infections to protect you and your new baby from illness.

Also, please wash your hands and ask others to wash their hands before attending to the baby.

A collaboration with Meadville Medical Center, Visiting Nurses Association of Crawford County, and the WIC Program. As mothers who have breastfed our own children, we know that a determined attitude to succeed is the key to a beneficial breastfeeding experience. Next in importance is finding reliable information and consistent support people to help in the breastfeeding effort. The coalition provides this information and assistance in a variety of ways.

24-hour Breastfeeding Help Line: (814) 333-5604
Parents may call this line at any time. Follow the directions on the recorded message. A lactation specialist from the coalition will return your call.  The help line may be accessed as often as needed.

Breastfeeding class, 7:00pm on 2nd Tuesday of the Month
This class is held in the New Life Unit of Meadville Medical Center, Liberty Street. This class is taught by a certified lactation consultant. It is free of charge and open to all interested persons. Babies are welcome.

Home Visits for New Mothers
An avenue of support is a home visit by a registered nurse with expertise in maternity and lactation. This visit is for those early days after hospital discharge when questions arise. While in the hospital you will be asked if you would like a home visit. Most insurance companies will cover the cost.

Circumcision for male babies is a matter of parental choice. You should discuss your wishes with your physician as soon as possible. Generally, the procedure is done within two days of the baby's birth.

Birth Certificates & Social Security Number
After your baby's birth, your nurse will give you a birth certificate to fill out. We need you to complete this form as soon as possible and return it to one of the nurses so that it may be sent to the Bureau of Vital Statistics to be registered. The Bureau sends a notification of registration of your child's birth and an official birth certificate to your home after you leave the hospital. You may also obtain a social security number using the information from the birth certificate and this will also be sent to your home. The New Life Unit will also give you a complimentary birth certificate with your baby's footprints on it.

Discharge & Future Appointments
Prior to discharge from the New Life Unit, your nurse will give you printed discharge instructions for you and your baby, specific to your doctor's orders. Your nurse will discuss these with you and answer any questions you may have. You will have a copy to take home with you for future reference.

You and your baby are usually discharged together. Identification bands will be checked and you will sign that you are taking your baby home on the discharge form. If you go home before your baby, keep your identification bracelet on.

In addition to experiencing the joy of being home, many new mothers have doubts, fatigue, and mixed feelings the first few weeks after giving birth. You may feel overwhelmed by housework and from caring for your new infant. A short period of depression is normal. Get plenty of rest; nap when baby naps; eat high-protein foods; drink plenty of liquids; and do not crash diet, especially if breast feeding. Take time to share your feelings with your mate or a close friend. Go out to dinner - you owe yourself a babysitter once in awhile.

Keep in mind that the father is also tired and overwhelmed with his adjustments to the new mother-baby relationship. These first few weeks will require all the closeness, sharing, and support you can give one another.

A child's first step actually takes place long before birth - a healthy pregnancy is the "first step" to a happy baby. Let the New Life Unit help you plan the birth experience you've always wanted through our special services.

Car Seats
All children in Pennsylvania who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall are legally required to ride in an approved car seat. To ensure that your infant's first ride is a safe one, please have an approved infant seat to use when you and your baby are discharged. Please read the specific instructions for your car seat. Have it installed in your car, and know how to use it by the day of discharge. On the day of discharge, please have car seat brought to your room. The base may stay in the car.

Gifts for Baby and Mom
Gifts from our Gift Shop can be delivered directly to Mom and Baby.

Prepaid Program
A Pre-Paid One Day Stay Delivery package is available for those expecting couples who have no insurance or medical assistance coverage. Information regarding this program is available from your physician or by calling (814) 333-5313.


Contact Information

The New Life Unit is located at the Liberty Street Facility, third floor.
Phone:(814) 333-5345

Frequent Questions

Why does my baby cry?
Crying is the way your baby communicates. Crying in healthy infant can be due to many reasons. The most common reason is hunger but there are other reasons, too. Babies cry because of discomfort, usually due to gas and the need to be burped. The baby may be too warm or too cold, the diaper may need to be changed, or your baby may just want to be held and snuggled.

How often should my baby be fed?
Newborn infants usually nurse 20 to 30 minutes every 2 to 3 hours round the clock in the beginning. Bottle fed babies usually eat every 3 to 4 hours in the beginning. Nursing babies increase their mothers' milk supply by nursing and stimulating its production. Bottle fed babies can gradually have their formula increased by 1/2 ounce each feeding if the baby seems to want more. It is ok to wake a baby to feed them during the day but your baby may sleep 4 to 5 hours at night as long as your doctor has not ordered him to be fed more often. Your baby will make his own schedule and may want to eat more often or greater amounts during a growth spurt.

Signs of a well-fed baby are:
Looks and acts satisfied after feedings
Wets 6 or more diapers daily (after 4-5 days of age)
Has yellow stools after 4-5 days of age
Gains weight

Does my baby need water in addition to breast milk or formula?
No, your baby does not need water in addition to milk. You may if you desire offer him some sips of sterilized water during warm weather. The water should be cooled to room temperature and offered between feedings.

When should I call my baby's doctor?
Some signs of illness are:

  • A rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Vomiting, not just spitting up
  • Refusal to eat
  • No energy, very sleepy all the time
  • Diarrhea
  • Hard crying for no obvious reason
  • Unusual rash
  • Eye drainage

You know your baby better than anyone. If the baby just seems to not be acting right, notify your baby's doctor. Your baby's doctor will tell you if he/she needs to examine the baby.

When can I start to feed my baby solid food?
This is something your baby's doctor will decide. Your baby does not need anything but breast milk or formula during the first year of life. Your baby will usually be started on cereal around 6 months of age. New foods should be introduced gradually one at a time.

How should I position my baby for sleep?
Always put your baby on his back in the crib or bassinet to sleep.

When will my baby's cord fall off?
This usually happens in the first 2 weeks after birth but not always.

What is neonatal (physiological) jaundice? How is it treated?
Physiological jaundice is normal. All newborns have it to some degree. It usually peaks at about 3 days of age and then gradually decreases. A newborn infant is born with extra red blood cells. These are not needed after birth and the newborn's body will rid itself of these. A by-product of these blood cells breaking down is called bilirubin which is what gives the newborn's skin a jaundiced or yellow tinge. Your baby's doctor may order a blood test to determine the level of bilirubin in the babies blood if he/she thinks it may be too high. If the level of bilirubin is elevated, the treatment usually consists of putting the baby under special florescent lights called bili lights which help the infant's body break the bilirubin down and get rid of it. This treatment is very often done at home by the family after receiving instruction.

What will I need to know before I call my baby's doctor?
Always take your baby's temperature. A rectal temperature is best. Your doctor will want to know about any rashes, refusal to eat, diarrhea, and anything unusual about your baby.

Does my newborn son need to be circumcised?
Circumcision is a cultural choice. It is not medically necessary. Discuss circumcision with your baby's doctor before making this decision.


Educational Programs

Early Pregnancy
Expectant parents in their second to fifth month of pregnancy are encouraged to attend this one-session course. Topics discussed involve nutrition during pregnancy, fetal development, changes in the mother's body and emotions, body mechanics, common discomforts, relaxation techniques, and signs of labor. Call for next scheduled class - Class will be cancelled if low registration. For more information and to pre-register call the New Life Unit at (814) 333-5433. The class is free.

Childbirth Preparation
Pregnant mothers and their support persons (who plan to participate during labor) should find this course very helpful in preparing for the delivery of a new life. Classes concentrate on preparation for labor and birth using  relaxation and breathing techniques. Topics also discussed include a process of labor and delivery, hospital admission, true versus false labor, fetal monitoring, medication and anesthesia, induced labor and Cesarean birth. Classes are instructed by New Life Unit nurses and are available weekend days and/or weeknights during the 7th through 9th month of pregnancy. For more information and to pre-register call the New Life Unit at (814) 333-5433. Fee is $40 -- please register early!

Nutritional Counseling
For those special dietary problems you may encounter during your pregnancy, counseling is available. A referral by your physician is required so that you may receive personalized counseling from one of our registered dieticians.

Breastfeeding Class
Classes are available to help a new mother learn to successfully breastfeed her infant. Classes are held at 7:00pm on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in the in the New Life Unit of Meadville Meadville Center, Liberty Street.  Classes are taught by a certified lactation consultant and are free of charge and open to all interested persons. For more information and to pre-register call the New Life Unit at (814) 333-5433.

Newborn Care Class
A Newborn Care Class, which is offered monthly at no charge, provides tips on caring for your new baby during the early weeks at home. Topics covered include bathing, positioning, feeding, burping, cord care, circumcision care and the proper use of car seats. Call the New Life Unit at (814) 333-5433 to register.

Infant Care Class
During your post-partum stay, the staff provides instructions covering the care of your newborn including bathing, bottle feeding and breast-feeding. Before going home you will have an opportunity to bathe and care for your baby while knowing you have professionals to advise and guide you. A videotape library is available on the New Life Unit with a variety of pertinent topics that you are free to utilize at any time during your stay.

Sibling Preparation
Brothers and sisters of your new baby are an important part of Meadville Medical Center's family-centered program. Classes for baby's brothers and sisters ages 2 and up are offered monthly. Parents must accompany their children at this program. Through discussion and a tour of the New Life Unit, we help prepare the family for the new baby's arrival. Call (814) 333-5433 for schedule and to register.
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