Prepare for Labor & Delivery

Learn how to get ready for childbirth at UNC Health Johnston, and discover what to expect when you come to the Women’s Pavilion in Smithfield or Women’s Center in Clayton.

When Should I Go to the Hospital?

Go to the hospital if you:

Call your doctor or midwife whenever you have questions about your or your baby’s health.

What Should I Bring to the Hospital?

Pack a bag with:

  • Blankets to keep the baby warm on the ride home
  • Clothes for you and your baby to wear home
  • Nursing bra, if you’ll breastfeed

Personal items to use as focal points (comforting things to look at during contractions)

Your nurses will give you a gown, socks, and baby blankets to use during your stay.

Install a Car Seat

To ensure your baby’s safe ride home, install a car seat in the vehicle you’ll take to the hospital. Visit the Clayton police station or Smithfield fire station to get help from a technician certified to install car seats.

What Happens When I Arrive?

When you arrive, a nurse will take you to our triage room to check your stage of labor. You’ll be placed on a fetal monitor that tracks your contractions and baby’s heart rate. Then, you’ll either be admitted to the hospital or sent home to wait for labor to progress further.

How Many Visitors Can I Have?

Up to three people at a time may visit you in the labor and delivery room, and your partner may stay overnight. In the triage room, there’s space for one person to join you.

When Do I Go Home?

You’ll likely stay in the hospital for one to three days. Before you leave, a nurse will give you instructions for postpartum self-care at home and help you make follow-up appointments with your doctor or midwife.

We’ll also ask the name of the pediatrician you will take your baby to after discharge. If you do not have one, ask us for help finding a doctor for your newborn.

How Do I Get a Birth Certificate?

We’ll lend you a computer or tablet so you can order your baby’s birth certificate online in the comfort of your hospital room. You’ll receive a copy of the certificate in the mail, saving you a trip to the county courthouse.

View medical records information for more details about birth certificates.

Preregister for Your Stay

Save time when you come to the hospital. Preregister [PDF] for labor and delivery.

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