During Your Stay

You may have questions about what to expect during your stay at UConn John Dempsey Hospital. Below are some resources to help you navigate the hospital and answer your questions about what to expect during labor and recovery.

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Patient and Visitor Resources

UConn Health strives to keep you and your family comfortable during your stay. UConn John Dempsey Hospital offers many amenities to our visitors and patients. Please see Patient Resources and Visitor Resources for more.


Discomfort During Labor

The discomfort you experience during labor depends on several factors. There are different strategies you may use alone or in combination to help cope with your labor. Talk with your provider about your options in preparation of your baby’s birth. Our doctors and nurses are here to help you make the choice that is right for you and the labor experience you hope to have.

  • Relaxation and breathing techniques (showering, birthing ball).
  • Analgesics or pain relieving drugs will help provide pain relief to allow breathing and relaxation techniques to become more effective.
  • Epidural anesthesia blocks most pain perception; numbs your body from the waist to toes.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a self-administered gas that can be breathed in to temporarily relieve pain, without long-lasting side effects. Learn more about nitrous oxide.

Delivering Options

There are few events in life as memorable as the birth of your child. You can be assured that we'll work with you to create the experience you are striving for.

From the beginning, doctors, nurses as well as anesthesiologists, will include you in decisions and support your birth plan. The maternity staff is attentive and caring so that you can feel comfortable and turn your focus to you and your baby.

By offering these options, your experience can be tailored to your needs:

  • Private rooms
  • Freedom to walk around with wireless monitoring
  • Nitrous oxide and other pain management options
  • Lactation consultant on staff and available 24/7
  • NICU available just in case


Cesarean Section

You and your provider may determine that you will have a surgical birth before you go into labor or possibly after labor starts. This is a decision that is made with care and with you and your medical team. If it is determined in advance, you will have a preop office visit with your provider one week before your surgery.

What to Expect

If you and your obstetrician have determined that a surgical birth (Cesarean section) is right for you, you may wonder what comes next. Our experienced and compassionate physicians and nurses are available to support you and answer all of your questions as you prepare for your baby’s birth. The comfort and safety of you and your baby are our top priorities.

What Is a Cesarean Section?

A Cesarean section is a safe surgical birth procedure performed by your obstetrician for a variety of reasons.

Whether it is scheduled or a last-minute decision, the procedure itself lasts approximately one hour.

A Cesarean birth begins with a routine IV along with an epidural or other anesthesia to numb the lower half of your body. To deliver the baby, a small incision is made first in your lower abdomen, then in the uterus.

As with a vaginal delivery, a Cesarean section is a family-friendly affair. Your support person is welcome in the room, and you will be awake so that you can meet, cuddle, and possibly breastfeed your baby immediately.

Recovery and Rooming In

Delayed cord clamping has become more common and is a recommended practice. Ask your doctor and nurse about the benefits of delayed cord clamping.

Immediately after delivery, your baby will be placed “skin to skin” with you for one hour. This “golden hour” will encourage bonding and help your baby transition to life outside the womb. Your baby will be rooming in with you for your entire stay to help facilitate successful breastfeeding if you choose and will allow you to exercise your mothering instincts.

During the first hour after delivery, you will be closely monitored by your nurse; blood pressure, the firmness of your uterus, bleeding and your overall wellbeing will be continuously assessed. As long as you are stable, you will be able to eat food.


After two hours of recovery in Labor and Delivery, you should be stable enough to be transferred to our postpartum unit. You will be educated on taking care of yourself and your baby throughout your hospital stay with experienced postpartum nurses.

Rooming In

As a family-centered care unit, we believe that this crucial time after delivery is best spent together with your baby so that you can get to know each other. Rooming in with you and your family will give your baby comfort by being close to you and will help your baby to feed and sleep better. You will benefit by getting to know your baby, learn to calm and soothe, and respond to hunger cues. You will also sleep better knowing your baby is in the room.

Staff will be available for questions about care for yourself and your baby. Use this opportunity to learn and get to know your little one.


Our experienced nursing staff will provide routine checks on you and your baby and monitor baby’s feedings and number of wet diapers to be sure your baby is getting enough to eat. Your nurse will assist you with breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Our nurses are experienced and can help you, and lactation counselors and consultants are also available if needed.

Your baby’s temperature, respirations, color, and overall condition will continue to be monitored by your nurse.

Learn more about lactation consulting services.

Daily Pediatric Exams

Daily pediatric exams during your hospital stay are normally performed by your pediatrician. After your baby is discharged, you will follow up with the pediatrician of your choice.

In Hospital Assessments and Screenings

Physical Assessment

Apgar Score

Your baby will be scored on 5 different areas: skin color, heart rate, breathing, muscle tone and reflex response, once at one minute after birth and again at five minutes.

Vitamin K Injection

Vitamin K helps protect against a bleeding disorder in the first weeks of life. Newborns lack the necessary bacteria that produce vitamin K, therefore a shot is given at birth to supplement until an infant can make his own vitamin K.

Eye Prophylaxis

Your baby’s eyes will be treated with erythromycin eye ointment to protect against any serious eye infections. Ointment is applied to both of baby’s eyes within 1 hour of birth according to state law.

Newborn Screenings

Congenital Heart Disease

Pulse oximetry is a simple, non-invasive procedure used to measure how much oxygen is in a newborns blood. A device is placed on baby’s hand and foot with a sticky strip and a small red light or probe that connects to a monitor.

Genetic Screening

A small amount of blood from baby’s heel is sent to the state laboratory to screen for multiple rare metabolic disorders. You and your baby’s pediatrician will be notified of an abnormal result. For more information about the State of Connecticut Newborn Screening Program call 860-920-6628.

Hearing Screening

This is a common, non-invasive screening for early detection of hearing loss. Your baby will briefly be taken to the nursery for testing. If your baby does not pass the screening, a referral for further testing will be made.

Jaundice Screening

A jaundice, or bilirubin, screening is performed on all babies before discharge by measuring the level of jaundice, or yellow pigment, in baby’s skin. A monitor is placed on baby’s forehead and gives a reading. If the reading is high, a blood test for bilirubin is done.

Car Seat Tolerance Test

Babies that are born at less than 37 weeks or under 5.5 pounds will be checked to find out if it is safe for them to be placed in a car seat for the ride home. Your baby’s breathing and oxygen levels will be monitored while in their car seat for 90 minutes. Your car seat and base will need to be brought to the hospital prior to going home so the test can be administered.

Breastfeeding and Lactation Consulting

UConn Health is proud to offer around-the-clock breast feeding support. We have a full-time, internationally board certified lactation consultant on staff, as well as nurses trained in lactation support and certified as lactation counselors.

Also available are outpatient lactation appointments as well as telephone consults after you are discharged.

Learn more about our Lactation Consultation services.

View our Breastfeeding class schedule or sign up for a class.

Visitor Policy

Ask your family and friends not to visit if they are ill (including colds and flu). All other visitors should wash their hands when they arrive.

You may have a support person spend the night. Children are not permitted to spend the night.

All other visitors, including grandparents and siblings, can visit from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

All visitors must be over the age of 12 and healthy. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed on the unit unless they are a brother or sister of the newborn. Brothers or sisters under the age of 18 will not be allowed to stay in the room without an adult.


To ensure your safety, all doors throughout the unit are locked at all times. Entry is only permitted by ringing the bell and there are security cameras throughout the unit. You will receive information about the system when you arrive. Never give your baby to anyone (including hospital staff) who does not match the photograph on his or her badge.

Security and ID Bands

As soon as your baby is delivered, an ID band will be attached to baby’s wrist and ankle as well as to mom’s wrist. A band is available for the father or another support person identified by the mother. You cannot enter the nursery or take your baby to your room without these bands in place.

A security band will be placed on your baby’s other ankle. These bands can only be removed by the staff at discharge. If the alarm tag is tampered with or removed, or if you go too close to an exit, the alarm will sound and the doors will lock.