Labor and Delivery

Upon arrival you will come through a dedicated entrance surrounded by pine trees. Our professional and friendly team will greet you and be available 24x7 to make your delivery as comfortable as possible, including personalizing your labor management plan and using the latest technology to monitor you and your baby’s health.

Birthing Center staff members are supportive of each woman’s needs and choices around pain control in childbirth and offer a number of resources to make each delivery as personal and comfortable as possible. There are several ways to reduce your pain during labor and to help comfort you during the birth of your child.

Aquatic Tub

A hydro-therapy tub is available in one of our labor rooms for the purpose of pain management. The tub is offered to laboring moms who do not have an epidural.

Nitrous Oxide

Emerson offers nitrous oxide for labor. This epidural alternative is popular in Europe and provides both pain relief and decreases anxiety in labor. Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas, mixed 50/50 with oxygen, that’s inhaled through a face mask. While in labor, the patient places the mask on her face and breathes deeply before her next contraction begins. The gas not only blunts the feeling of pain but also reduces anxiety. Some women use the nitrous oxide right through delivery, while others still opt for an epidural.

Advantages of Nitrous Oxide for Labor Pain Management:
  •    Provides enough labor pain relief for many women
  •    Enables women to avoid or postpone epidural pain medication
  •    Can be used in any stage of labor right up to the birth
  •    Gives laboring woman control over managing labor pain
  •    Useful in additional obstetrical procedures
  •    Wears off within seconds and has no adverse effects on mom or baby


A member of the Emerson Hospital Department of Anesthesia is present in the hospital 24 hours a day to help make your delivery a safer, more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Epidural analgesia provides safe and effective pain relief from early labor through delivery. This technique involves the administration of medications into the epidural space, a small space adjacent to the spinal cord. With epidural analgesia, it is not unusual to experience numbness or tingling in the legs, and you should be aware that you will not be allowed out of bed once the epidural is in place, since your legs may be too wobbly to support you. Other side effects may include itching, sleepiness, low blood pressure, or a headache after the procedure.


If your obstetrician decides that you need to have a Cesarean section and you do not already have an epidural in place for labor, most likely you will have a spinal anesthetic. A spinal, similar to an epidural in some ways, is an injection into the lower back that can usually be done quickly and easily. It provides excellent anesthesia, while allowing you to be awake so that you may participate in the delivery process and see your baby right after delivery. Once the anesthetic is administered, you will feel the onset of numbness, starting from your feet and rising to mid-chest level. You may feel pressure or movements at times during the procedure, but you will experience no pain. The numbness will begin to wear off after about 2 hours.

After Delivery

Seeing your baby for the first time is an experience you will never forget. All those moments of preparing and dreaming have finally become real. Once the baby is born, assuming there are no complications, your baby will be placed directly on your chest. A warm blanket will be placed on the baby and now the bonding can begin. This connection of the unwrapped newborn lying directly on your skin is called skin-to-skin contact and can provide you and your baby time to get to know each other. This initial snuggling also has very important health benefits.