Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions are meant to provide information regarding your childbirth care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Please contact your physician’s office if you have further questions.

Note: Labor & Delivery refers to the unit or physical location where you will deliver your baby. Postpartum refers to the unit or physical location where you will be transferred after a short recovery time following delivery of your baby.

Before Arriving at the Hospital

If I think I am in labor, should I call my doctor before coming to the hospital?

Yes. Your doctor will notify the Labor & Delivery team that you are coming and the nurses will be able to better plan for your arrival.


Can I pre-register for my hospital stay?

We do not offer pre-registration at most of our locations yet. When you present to the Labor & Delivery Unit, our front desk will register you. Please make sure to bring your photo ID and health insurance card. Pre-registration is available at our NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, and NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital locations.


What should I bring to the hospital with me?

Please see the "What to Bring to the Hospital" list at the end of this page.


Do I need to choose a doctor for my baby before birth?

Yes. Your baby will need to see a doctor frequently within the first weeks of life, so it will be helpful to choose a pediatrician in advance. If you need help finding a pediatrician, visit nyp.org/find-a-doctor or consult your obstetrician.


I think I’m in labor, should I go to the emergency room or directly to the labor and delivery unit?

If you believe you are in labor, you should go to the labor and delivery unit where your doctor delivers or where you visited. However, if this is an emergency or you need additional assistance, please go through to our emergency department. Difficulty walking may be a sign that your labor has significantly progressed. The emergency department staff will update the labor and delivery unit on your status.

NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital
Labor and Delivery
5141 Broadway
New York, NY 10034
212-932-4142

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Labor and Delivery
161 Fort Washington Ave.
New York, NY 10032

NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital
Labor and Delivery
55 Palmer Ave.
Bronxville, NY 10708

NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital
Labor and Delivery
170 William Street
New York, NY 10038
646-962-2620

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Labor and Delivery
525 East 68th St., 7 West
New York, NY 10019


At the Hospital

Visiting Hours

We have temporarily adjusted our visiting policy in order to keep our patients and visitors safe from infection as related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Please visit our coronavirus visitor policy change for more information.


What happens when I arrive at the unit?

When you arrive at the unit, a clerk will take you to be seen by a nurse in our triage area. In triage, the nurse will briefly review your history and assess your current needs. Your obstetrician or midwife will be notified. If they are unavailable, we have 24-hour coverage by general obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine attendings.


If I have a scheduled induction, is there often a long wait time to be brought in?

We do our best to run on schedule. If there are any delays, we will communicate with you regularly about how long your wait time will be.


What happens once I am in a delivery room?

In the delivery room, your nurse will assess your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, and place you on a fetal monitor. The nurse will monitor you throughout your labor and help you explore which comfort measures work best for you. An intravenous line may be placed to give you medication and fluids. You may also receive ice chips to help quench your thirst.


I have a particular birth plan that I’ve worked out with my OB, will you honor it?

At NewYork-Presbyterian, we do our best to adhere to your birth plan.


If my nurse is not in my room, how will she know what is going on with my baby and me?

We have central monitoring on our units and every computer displays the fetal heart tracings that are on the unit. Your nurse may not be in your room at all times, but s/he will still always be able to see what is going on with you and your baby.


Do I have to have continuous monitoring? Can I have intermittent monitoring?

You must discuss this with your care team.


Will my doctor be there to see me when I arrive at the hospital?

Your doctor (or whomever is covering their practice) may have multiple patients on the floor, and may not be able to see you right away. You will be assessed by one of our practitioners who will discuss your situation with your doctor. Every decision that is made regarding your care is done in consultation with your care team.


What can I eat once I am admitted to the hospital for labor?

Generally, you are permitted to eat/drink anything that is clear (water, ice, soup broth, jello), but this must be discussed with your care team prior to eating or drinking anything.


If I have a private cord blood collection kit, when should I give it to the nurse?

You should give it to your nurse before your IV is placed, so they can draw the maternal blood portion of the kit at that time. We will draw those samples at the same time as your IV placement.


When is the latest time I can get my epidural?

There is no time cutoff for epidural placements at our hospitals. No matter what centimeter dilation you are, if you are uncomfortable and request an epidural (to the extent that you are able to sit still through the procedure), you may receive one.


Do you have doulas?

We do not have doulas on staff. However, patients can bring in their own doulas or support person. They will not be allowed to provide medical interventions.


How many people can I have with me in my labor room?

You may have one adult with you at your bedside (this includes spouses/significant others/doulas).


If I have a cesarean delivery, how many people may be with me in the operating room?

Except for rare cases where it is unsafe to have a support person in the operating room (i.e. patient has general anesthesia), one person may be with you in the operating room. That person will be gowned and will sit by your head.


Can we take photos or videos during my delivery?

We do not allow video recording. However, photography is allowed. We offer parents the opportunity to purchase official newborn portraits taken by a professional photographer.


How long will I have to recover on Labor & Delivery before being transferred to postpartum?

For both vaginal and cesarean deliveries, the recovery time is about two hours. Once you have been assessed and determined to be stable, we will transfer you to postpartum.


What medications will my baby receive upon delivery?

Your baby will receive erythromycin, an antibiotic for their eyes, and a shot of vitamin K. These are requirements of New York State.


Do you do delayed cord clamping?

Unless your baby necessitates immediate examination by a nurse or pediatrician, most providers do delayed cord clamping. You are welcome to specify and remind the team of your preference for it.


When should I breastfeed my baby?

Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin is initiated within the first hour after delivery or as soon as possible. We will help you breast or bottle feed your baby, teach you feeding cues, and teach you appropriate feeding patterns, as your baby gets older.


When will my baby be bathed?

We will delay bathing your baby for 24 hours after birth so as to help your baby regulate its body temperature.


When do I fill out the birth certificate?

On the postpartum unit, before you leave the hospital.


When are circumcisions done (if desired)?

After the baby is cleared by the pediatrician and prior to discharge.


Can my baby be with me in my room at all times?

We encourage “rooming-in” to keep your baby with you during your hospital stay, as a way for you to bond with your baby, learn your baby’s hunger cues, and feed on demand. Babies typically feed more than 8 times each 24-hour day for the first several weeks and rooming in lets you respond easily and quickly when baby shows hunger cues.


Do I need to bring a breast pump from home?

We provide breast pumps while you are in the hospital.


Do you provide formula?

Yes, we provide formula. We do not allow outside formulas to be brought into the hospital.


Do I need to tell you who my pediatrician is before I leave the hospital?

Yes. We must know who your pediatrician is before you are discharged from the hospital.


How long will I stay in the hospital before being discharged?

The average length of stay for a patient with a vaginal delivery is approximately 2 nights, 3 days. The average length of stay for a patient with a cesarean delivery is approximately 3 nights, 4 days.


Does the baby need to leave the hospital in a car seat?

If you are going home in your own car, yes. If you do not have a car, your baby does not need to leave the hospital in a car seat. We recommend bringing a stroller before discharge.


What to Bring to the Hospital

DO bring

  • Photo ID and health insurance card
  • Eyeglasses/contacts and care items
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, hairbrush, hair-tie
  • The hospital provides soap and shampoo but you may prefer to bring your own
  • Birthing ball
  • Bathrobe, nightgown, slippers, socks, comfy change of clothes.
    • Choose loose, comfortable clothes for postpartum that you don’t mind getting dirty.
    • We provide hospital gowns, disposable underwear and pads.
  • Cord blood kit if using private donation
    • Make sure to tell the nurse drawing your admission labs that you have this kit so they can draw the maternal blood portion of the kit then.
  • Pillow
  • Music and/or tablet and headphones
  • Reading materials if you are being induced
  • Clothes for the baby to go home in
  • For your partner: Camera, charger/batteries, toiletries, comfortable shoes, a change of clothes and pajamas if staying overnight, snacks, reading material, money for parking, food and vending machines.

Note: At the hospital, please place all of your bags in the closet provided to keep the floors clear of hazards.

DO NOT bring:

  • Jewelry/valuables
  • Breast pump
  • Hair dryer
  • Appliances
  • Candles
  • Diapers
  • Pads
  • Car seat — you do not need this until you are being discharged (and it is not a necessity for discharge i.e. if you do not have a car)

Note: No flowers or balloons are permitted on Labor & Delivery; you can have them in your room on postpartum.