Labor & Delivery

Level III Maternity and Obstetrics

Congratulations, Mom! This is the moment you've dreamed about. Bringing a new life into the world is about the most exciting thing you'll ever do. No matter where you are on this amazing journey—already pregnant, still trying or just beginning to plan your family—you're making one of the most important decisions of your life. It's exciting. It's breathtaking. And, it's a little stressful. Deciding where to have your baby should be one of the easiest milestones along the way.

We hear you. We're here for you. St. Francis Medical Center has been Monroe and the surrounding area’s premier place to begin this amazing journey for over 100 years. With more than 2,000 babies born each year under our patient-centered, experienced and compassionate care, we remain the proven leader in getting you ready, getting you there and getting you home happy, safe and well.

Whether you are a first-time mom or you are preparing to welcome a new member to the family, your pregnancy and birth of your baby will be a unique experience. We understand that you want the best for your family. Because of COVID-19, we have had to cancel our in-person tours of our birthing facilities, but we now offer this video tour. We hope this helps you feel more comfortable before arriving at the hospital for your stay.

Below is some information you might find helpful regarding what you can expect during your stay.

Do you have private rooms?
Yes. Our rooms are designed to provide you with a comfortable environment to meet your baby, and our Level III Labor & Delivery and Postpartum nurses are trained to care for you before, during, and after giving birth. Our Nursery and Level III Neonatal Intensive Care nurses are highly skilled and experienced in the latest techniques to care for your baby. In addition, our comprehensive fetal monitoring system allows nurses and other healthcare professionals to care for you with minimal interruptions to your rest.

How many people are allowed in the birthing room?
The birth of your baby is an exciting time, so in order to help you and your family share this moment, you can choose to allow up to two support people into the labor and birth room with you. Also, we made accommodations for one adult to stay in the room with you overnight.
Please note: During the current COVID-19 pandemic, patients and visitors are required to wear masks when in the hospital. You are encouraged to bring your own masks, but one will be provided if you don't have one. Patients in Labor and Delivery and on the Postpartum unit are allowed to have one support person (18 years or older) to remain with them during their stay.  We do not have any limitations on the number of bags that can be brought to the hospital with supplies for your stay. Door hangers are allowed.

Will my baby be separated from me right after birth?
Little is more precious than the first moments you spend with your baby. To foster that special bond, we proudly offer skin-to-skin bonding for at least one hour immediately after birth. We also encourage mothers to room in with their newborn.  Rooming-in promotes bonding as well as allowing you to recognize your newborn’s feeding cues early as opposed to waiting until they are crying.

Do you offer breastfeeding support?
Let's face it, Mom, there's a lot to know about breastfeeding. Have questions? We have answers.  At St. Francis Medical Center, we have a wonderful lactation consultant, Brenda Myers, RN on staff who will be happy to assist you with breastfeeding your newborn.  If she is not available, for instance on a weekend, all of our team members are trained to assist you with learning to breastfeed your newborn.  It is important to utilize these resources during your hospital stay, so when you are discharged home you feel comfortable and confident to successfully breastfeeding your newborn.  We also encourage rooming in with your baby during your hospital stay. Click here to register for our free virtual breastfeeding class.

What is your policy on formula and pacifiers?
The decision is yours if you would prefer to allow your child to receive formula and use pacifiers.

Do you allow photography?
Absolutely! This is an exciting time of memories that will last a lifetime. You and your loved ones may choose to bring in a photographer to capture these special moments. However, due to COVID-19, additional visitors are not allowed, so taking pictures will be the responsibility of the mother’s support person.

Where do we park when we get to the hospital?
St. Francis Medical Center offers valet service as well as shuttle service to and from our parking facilities. We have parking available in our parking garage for our patients and visitors.

Can my other children visit?
Family and friends provide an integral part in the health and well-being of patients. That's why St. Francis Medical Center encourages the presence and participation of visitors in our patients' care. They are valued partners in our care team. However, due to COVID-19, additional visitors are not allowed.

Are breast pumps available?
Hospital-grade Medela breast pumps are available, if requested or needed.

What will happen if a I need a C-Section?
With more than 2,000 babies born annually under our skillful, compassionate watch, St. Francis Medical Center is ready to meet your unique healthcare needs to help ensure you enjoy a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

We understand your feelings. That's why our well-trained, experienced team works so hard to ensure you never feel alone as you make this journey. Our physicians, nurses and sonographers will take the time to understand your concerns and explain results, risks, and other important information in terms you can understand.

We are prepared. We offer our area's only dedicated unit providing Level III OB care for moms with high-risk pregnancies, as well as the region’s only Level III NICU for newborns requiring a higher level of care.

Whether you are a first-time mom, or you are preparing to welcome a new member to the family, your pregnancy and birth of your baby will be a unique experience. Here are some general things you may expect along the way.

Other Services Offered and Certifications:

  • Quiet time observed daily 2pm - 4pm - this means unless you request for someone to come in your room, you will enjoy uninterrupted bonding and rest during these hours.
  • Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic - For all high-risk pregnancy patients who need to be monitored more closely during their pregnancy by our specialists.
  • Prenatal classes held virtually, including breastfeeding and ABCs of Baby Care (click here to sign up)
  • Convenient pre-registration by calling (318) 966-3328, Monday - Thursday 9 am - 4 pm
  • GIFT-certified Breastfeeding Program and access to a Certified Lactation Consultant in hospital; 24-hour breastfeeding hotline at (318) 966-4043
  • Baby care instructional materials for reference at home
  • Infant CPR instructions on TV for viewing during hospital stay
  • Newborn hearing screening test
  • Infant security - many steps have been taken to protect both mom and baby. Visitors are required to have a picture ID and check in with security upon arrival to the hospital. The Safe Place infacent security system is in place to ensure your newborn is always in a safe, secure environment. Your newborn will have a monitor on their ankel from birth until discharge.

Early Labor
Early labor typically begins with the onset of labor pains until your cervix is three centimeters dilated. This stage lasts up to 12 hours. Contractions, which tend to be mild at this stage, last about 30 to 45 seconds with a rest period of five to 30 minutes between each. You may experience an aching in your lower back, menstrual cramps, and pressure in the pelvic area. Your water may break.

Conserve your energy. Drink plenty of water. Eat small snacks. Keep track of your contractions – how long they last and how much of a break you have between each.

Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, call your physician and begin making your way to St. Francis Medical Center. Don’t hesitate. Our skilled, experienced physicians and staff are ready to care for you at any stage of your pregnancy and labor.

Active Labor
Contractions during active labor are stronger, last longer, and come more frequently. You may expect each to be about 60 seconds with a three- to five-minute break between. This stage lasts about three to five hours as your cervix dilates from four centimeters to seven centimeters.

Begin making your way to St. Francis. Start the breathing techniques you learned in birth preparation classes. Experiment with different relaxing techniques or exercises between contractions. Try walking. Switch positions often.

The birth stage can take 30 minutes to two hours as your cervix dilates from eight centimeters to 10 centimeters. Contractions, which are more intense and may overlap in this stage, last 60 to 90 seconds. You may experience a rest period between each of 30 seconds to two minutes. Hot flashes, chills, nausea, vomiting, and gas are common. The good news is that this is the shortest stage before you meet your baby face-to-face for the first time.

Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Giving birth is usually a time for celebration and joy. But if complications arise, it's comforting to know that this area's highest level of neonatal life-saving technology is down the hall. If you have your baby at St. Francis, you have that assurance.

We offer this area's only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU team consists of nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatologists, respiratory therapists, case managers, and lactation consultants, along with physical and occupational therapists. During your baby's stay, our team will work closely with one another in planning appropriate care for development based upon the needs of your baby and family, as well as assisting you in preparation for discharge.

Before you decide where to have your baby, know the difference a Level III NICU can make.

  • Two neonatologists: Dr. Marc de Soler and Dr. Carmen Payne (a neonatologist is a pediatrician who specializes in the care and treatment of sick and premature newborns)
  • 35-bed unit with 44 nurses, 5 neonatal nurse practitioners and 15 respiratory therapists
  • Master's-prepared social worker serving our maternal child patients
  • Unit-based pharmacist with satellite pharmacy on the floor
  • NICU transport team that brings critically ill newborns to our hospital from other facilities in the surrounding areas
  • High-risk pregnancy/childbirth referral center for the entire region
  • NicView, technology which allows parents to watch their baby 24/7