Labor & Delivery
Bringing your baby into the world is an amazing experience, and we are here to make sure you are as comfortable as possible during that experience. We respect your wishes, and will personalize your labor management plan while using the latest technology to monitor your health and that of your baby.

This means that here at Emerson Hospital, you have an array of options for reducing your pain during labor and delivery. 

To contact our labor and delivery team please call 978-287-3310.

Natural childbirth options

Our nurses and certified nurse-midwives can provide various alternatives to medications that can help you cope with discomfort during labor, including:
  • Relaxation and breathing 
  • Massage 
  • Positioning
  • Showers 
  • Use of a birthing ball
  • Hydro-therapy tub

Pain management options available during labor

Emerson Hospital’s team of obstetricians and anesthesiologists offers you a variety of safe, reliable options for medical pain management during labor. A member of the Emerson Hospital Department of Anesthesia is present in the hospital 24/7, so these options are available to you whenever you may need them:

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas, mixed 50/50 with oxygen, that is inhaled through a face mask. While in labor, you place the mask on your face and breathe deeply before your next contraction begins. The gas not only blunts the feeling of pain but also reduces anxiety. Some women use nitrous oxide right through delivery, while others still opt for an epidural. Nitrous oxide can be used at any stage of labor, right up to birth, and gives you control over managing labor pain. It wears off within seconds and has no adverse effects on you or your baby.


An epidural provides safe and effective pain relief from early labor through delivery. It involves injecting medication into the epidural space, adjacent to the spinal cord. With an epidural, it is not unusual to experience numbness or tingling in the legs, so you will not be allowed out of bed once the epidural is given since your legs may be too wobbly to support you. 


If your obstetrician decides that you need to have a Cesarean section and you have not already had an epidural, you will most likely have a spinal anesthetic. This is an injection into the lower back that provides excellent anesthesia while allowing you to be awake so you can participate in the delivery process and see your baby right after delivery. Once the anesthetic is given, you will feel the numbness starting at your feet and rising to mid-chest level. You may feel pressure or movement at times during the procedure, but you will feel no pain. The numbness begins to wear off after about 2 hours.

What to expect after delivery

Once your baby is born, he or she (or they!) will be placed directly on your chest for what is called skin-to-skin contact, a bonding process that also has important health benefits.