Sacred Heart’s Monogram Maternity nurses answer 38 frequently asked questions.
From the moment you discovered you were pregnant, you’ll likely have lots of questions. Here are the most frequently asked questions moms-to-be are asking about their stay at the Sacred Heart Maternity and Women’s Center.
1) How do I get to the Maternity and Women's Center? Where do I park and enter once I'm on Sacred Heart's campus?
Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital is located at:
5151 N. Ninth Ave.
Pensacola, FL 32504
Upon arrival at Sacred Heart, please park in the Ninth Avenue parking garage or use our complimentary valet parking, available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All parking is free.
Enter through the Main Hospital Entrance (which faces Ninth Avenue). Wheelchairs are available at the front desk. Head straight down the main hallway, passing the Wendy’s and Subway, until our sea-life mural is on your right. Veer to the right, following the curve of the hallway, which connects to the lobby of The Children’s Hospital and Maternity and Women’s Center. Take the elevator to the 2nd floor. When you get off the elevator, turn to the right and follow the red signs for "OB Emergency Care Center."
For extra security during nighttime hours, you may be asked to check in at the front desk before continuing to the Maternity and Women's Center.
2) I just found out I am pregnant! What is the first thing I should do?
Congratulations on the news of your pregnancy. The most important thing to do first is to select an OB-GYN. You will want to select a doctor who accepts your insurance and has delivering privileges at your choice of hospital – which, hopefully, will be Ascension Sacred Heart.
Once you've chosen an obstetrician, the next important step is to schedule your first visit. The doctor will examine you, perform various tests and a review of your medical history. Every step is done to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
3) Are there birthing and parenting classes offered at the hospital? When should I register for classes?
Yes, Sacred Heart offers a variety of childbirth and parenting education classes designed to help you prepare for the big arrival of your bundle of joy and for the days that follow back home with your new baby. To register for classes or see a list of upcoming dates, please visit our classes page. Registration is required for all classes and is offered conveniently online.
We recommend that moms-to-be complete any childbirth classes by the 36th week of pregnancy. However, early registration is encouraged, as classes and tours fill up quickly. For any questions about classes, please call Monogram Maternity at 850-416-6378 (NEST).
4) What insurance does Sacred Heart take?
Sacred Heart accepts most major insurance plans. You can call your insurance provider to confirm the hospital is in your network. For questions or concerns, please call the Sacred Heart Patient Access Department at 850-416-2229 (BABY) or 850-416-4421.
5) Should I pre-register for admission to the hospital, and how can I do this?
Yes, pre-registering for your hospital stay is encouraged, as this helps to make your admissions process smoother and faster when you arrive at the Maternity and Women's Center for the birth of your baby. For questions or assistance, please call the Sacred Heart Patient Access Department at 850-416-2229 (BABY) or 850-416-4421.
6) What should I pack in my hospital bag?
Download this "What to Pack Checklist."
7) Do I need to choose a pediatrician before I come to the hospital?
Yes, your little one will need to undergo several newborn screenings both in the hospital and within the first week of delivery, so having a pediatrician already lined up is an important step in preparing for your baby's arrival. We recommend that you choose your baby's doctor and visit the pediatrician's office prior to delivery so you can ask questions regarding breastfeeding, check-ups and immunizations.
8) Will I have a private room?
All rooms in Sacred Heart's Labor-and-Delivery and Mother-Baby units are private.
9) During labor, am I free to walk around, or do I have to be hooked up to an IV and fetal monitor?
We encourage you to talk to your obstetrician about your wishes. Most moms with healthy pregnancies are free to walk around the unit during early labor. As your labor progresses, electronic monitoring may be done on a continuous or intermittent basis, depending on the condition of both mother and baby. Sacred Heart is currently in the process of launching wireless fetal monitoring, which will increase the options available to our moms in the future.
10) What pain management options are available? Are epidural and anesthesia services available 24/7?
Sacred Heart Hospital provides 24/7 on-site anesthesia dedicated solely to our maternity patients. Having an anesthesia team dedicated for maternity patients helps us provide you with timely pain relief at all hours. This is especially important in the event of an emergency when minutes can make a difference in outcomes.
Our team provides epidurals to ease your pain and make you more comfortable during childbirth, as well as anesthesia for C-sections and emergency surgeries. IV pain medications are also available. Talk to your doctor about your preferences for pain management. If you plan to use anesthesia during the birth of your child, you will need to view a mandatory film on the procedure and complete paperwork prior to your seventh month of pregnancy. This film and paperwork are both available at your OB/GYN's office.
11) May I eat while I am in labor?
Solid foods are not recommended while you are in labor. This is a precaution to protect you in the event an emergency C-section is needed. Moms may have ice chips. Additional dietary options (such as popsicles) may be ordered by your physician.
12) Can I hold my baby skin-to-skin after delivery?
Yes, skin-to-skin means your baby is placed belly-down, directly on your chest, right after he or she is born. Your nurse will dry off and cover the infant with a warm blanket and hat, then settle your baby onto your bare chest beneath your hospital gown. The first few hours after birth are a very important time for you and your baby to get to know each other. Snuggling skin-to-skin will help with that.
We recommend allowing your baby to stay skin-to-skin with you uninterrupted for at least 1-2 hours after birth. Compared with babies who are swaddled or kept in a crib, skin-to-skin babies stay warmer, cry less and maintain more stable vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood sugar and blood pressure. The first hour is also the best time to try to breastfeed your newborn for the first time.
After skin-to-skin time is complete and the baby's temperature and vital signs are stable, the nurse will get your baby bundled so that he/she can begin visiting with the rest of the family.
13) How many people are allowed in the delivery room? Are there any restrictions on who can be in the delivery room?
In addition to your spouse or primary support person, up to four people can be with you in the delivery room (for a total of five people). For the safety of both mom and baby, visitors (besides your spouse or primary support person) should be prepared to leave in the event of an emergency.
After delivery, once you've recovered and transitioned into our mother-baby unit, the number of visitors is not limited, although to reduce exposure to germs and best protect your newborn's health, we recommend keeping visitors to immediate family members and close friends.
To avoid any risk for infection, visitors experiencing any symptoms of a possible infectious illness – such as, but not limited to cough, cold, fever, rash, vomiting or diarrhea – are not permitted to visit.
14) When are visiting hours?
Family and friends may visit at any time, at your discretion. However, to help our moms and babies get the rest they need, we encourage patients to limit visitors after 9 p.m. Visitors age 18 and under are not allowed to stay overnight in hospital rooms or in the lobby.
15) Can children visit?
Yes, but your baby's siblings must be supervised by another adult (besides you, the mother). To reduce your baby's risk exposure to germs, any visitors (child or adult) experiencing symptoms of infection – such as, but not limited to cough, cold, fever, rash, vomiting or diarrhea – are not permitted to visit.
16) Is my partner allowed to stay with me overnight?
Yes, the Maternity and Women's Center has a sofa bed in each room.
17) During our stay, can the baby be in the room with me instead of in the nursery?
Yes, Sacred Heart practices couplet care, which means that one nurse will care for both mother and baby, and you and your little one will remain together while in the hospital, with most of your baby's tests and procedures done at your bedside. This family-centered approach encourages stronger bonding and helps both you and your significant other learn your newborn's sleep patterns, breathing sounds, eating patterns and care needs before going home – all with the guidance of your personal nurse, who's expertly trained in care for newborns.
If you need to rest at any point and prefer your little one be taken to the nursery, please speak to your nurse. Your little one can be carefully watched until you're ready to reunite.
18) What other security policies are in place?
Sacred Heart takes special precautions to make sure your baby is safe and to prevent infant abduction:
- Identification Bracelets - Your baby has two identification bracelets with numbers that match the ones on your bracelet. These numbers will be verified with you as they are placed on your baby in the delivery room. The father, significant other or coach is also given a matching band stating that this is the only other person that may pick up the infant from the nursery. Do not remove your baby's identification bands or the ones you are wearing. Please remind your spouse or significant other not to cut their bands off. We will not give a newborn to anyone without a band on his or her wrist. If the bands loosen or come off, please tell your nurse. Make sure you check your baby's I.D. bracelet EVERY TIME your newborn is taken to the nursery and brought back to you.
- Security Transmitter – Your newborn will also have a security transmitter placed on his or her ankle for safety. If someone tries to remove the transmitter from the baby's ankle, the elevators and stairs are locked down. Do not open, remove or tamper with this transmitter. If for some reason the transmitter becomes soiled, loose, or disconnected, please let the staff know immediately.
- Badges – Do not allow anyone without the proper identification to remove your baby from the room. A staff member will return your baby to the nursery at certain times for nursing assessments, procedures and physical examinations. All Maternity staff will be wearing Sacred Heart Hospital I.D. badges with purple or pink stripes and an icon of a stork.
- Bassinet Card - A bassinet card is located at the head of the baby's bassinet. Keep this card there until the baby goes home.
- Watchful Eyes – Never leave your baby unattended. When you use the bathroom, please take the baby with you, or have family, friends or your nurse watch him/her for you. When taking a shower or leaving the floor, call a staff member for assistance if no family member is available to watch your infant.
19) I plan on breastfeeding my baby. What services does the hospital offer to support breastfeeding mothers?
Before you leave the hospital, you will be visited in your room by one of our lactation consultants, who will be available to you should you need help feeding your little one during your hospital stay. Our board-certified lactation specialists are available in the hospital to assist new mothers with breastfeeding seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.After leaving the hospital, many mothers have questions and concerns regarding breastfeeding. Breastfeeding support is available by calling our "Warm Line" at 850-416-8088; open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Messages left after 5 p.m. will be returned the next morning. Our board-certified lactation consultants are also available for private consultations Monday through Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m. Appointments are required and can be made by calling our Monogram Maternity office at 850-416-6378 (NEST).
20) I plan on feeding my baby formula. Is formula provided in the hospital?
Yes, while we do our best to support breastfeeding, we also understand that not every mom chooses to or is able to breastfeed. The philosophy and policies of the Maternity and Women's Center are to support and help mom with feeding her baby in whichever method she chooses. Our trained staff will teach new moms how to prepare formula properly. We focus on making sure that your little one is well fed during your time in the hospital. We provide formula for babies to eat throughout their entire hospital stay.
21) What kind of information will I go home with?
22) What special services are available if you have a high- risk pregnancy?
Sacred Heart is the Regional Perinatal Center - one of only 11 in the state - and Northwest Florida's only center designed for women with high-risk pregnancies.
Because we are also the only local hospital where an obstetrician is onsite 24/7, Sacred Heart offers an emergency care center especially dedicated to treating unexpected issues in pregnant women. This ensures that women who are in labor or who are experiencing complications are seen right away by an in-house, board-certified obstetrician who can provide care until your doctor is able to arrive at the hospital. In an emergency, time can be critical to the health of both mother and baby, so a mom's immediate access to care is important. Learn more about how Sacred Heart cares for high-risk pregnancy here.
23) Should complications arise during or after my delivery, is Sacred Heart equipped to care for my newborn? Is there a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) on premise?
Sacred Heart Hospital has the region's only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Should your newborn arrive premature or critically ill at Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola, or if complications occur during your delivery, take comfort in the fact that just moments away is one of Sacred Heart's neonatologists, a doctor specially trained to care for our smallest patients. This specialist can be summoned to your baby's side immediately, day or night.
The NICU is staffed 24 hours a day by full-time neonatologists, neonatal nurses, developmental specialists and other therapists and technicians. Learn more about our NICU here.
24) Are recording devices (like a video camera and tripod, cell phone, or digital camera) allowed in the delivery room? May my family and I use our cell phones?
Still photos are allowed during both vaginal and C-section deliveries. Videos of vaginal deliveries may be taken from the head of the bed. However, we ask that staff members' faces not be recorded during a delivery. Videos of C-sections are not permitted.
All recording devices - including cell phones, digital cameras and video cameras - are permitted after the birth of your baby.
The Maternity and Women's Center works with Forever Memories professional newborn photography to provide parents with studio-format photos without having to leave the comfort and privacy of your room. Following the birth of your baby, a photographer will be available to capture images of your little one. Should you choose to have photos taken, your baby will be given his/her very own password-protected web page. Since the baby's page will only be visible to those with the password, this feature allows parents to control who has access to their baby's information. For your family's security, last names are never used. A variety of price packages are available, ranging from $16 to $199. There is no sitting fee and no obligation to purchase photos.
25) Does the hospital encourage and follow birth plans?
Yes, at Sacred Heart, you can expect the ability to tailor your childbirth experience to meet your own unique needs and wishes through Monogram Maternity, a complimentary birth-design service to help you customize your childbirth experience at our Maternity and Women's Center. Learn more about Monogram Maternity here.
26) What is the facility's view on doulas? Are they allowed in the labor and delivery rooms?
For patients who choose to hire a doula, your doula will be permitted to accompany you in the Maternity and Women's Center. Sacred Heart Hospital does not currently employ doulas.
27) What special birthing amenities does the hospital offer?
Each of our all-private rooms is designed to provide a home-like atmosphere, with a warm, traditional cherry-wood bedroom suite, decorated in calm, soothing colors. Each room provides a TV, telephone for patients and guests, a walk-in shower for the extra comfort of our new mothers and built-in sleepers for your spouse or support person.
As a special amenity for you, one of our professional photographers will stop by to give you the opportunity to document your special day, order keepsake photos of your newborn and share pictures with family and friends from a secure website - all from the comfort of your hospital room.
A birthing tub is available, and moms may choose to spend the early portion of labor in the tub. Please discuss your wishes with your OB doctor, and upon admission to the hospital, mention to our team that you wish to use the tub. Moms are not permitted to deliver in the tub. Mirrors are also available, should you wish to use one to watch the birth of your baby.
28) Can I give my baby the first bath?
Yes, we encourage parents to help give the first bath. Not only is this a great bonding experience for new families, it is also a great opportunity for your nurse to share tips about bathing your newborn.Sacred Heart follows the World Health Organization's recommendation to delay our babies' first baths until 8-24 hours after birth. Giving your baby more time to adjust to life outside the womb helps improve baby's temperature control, stabilize blood sugar and reduce risk for infection. Parents may choose to forego your baby's bath during your hospital stay. The first few days after your baby comes home, his or her bath will consist of a gentle once-over with a soft, damp, warm washcloth and a mild soap. Once the umbilical cord has fallen off (and in the case of boys, when the circumcision site heals), regular baths are permitted.
29) Can my baby be circumcised during his hospital stay?
Yes, if you wish your newborn to be circumcised, please discuss this with your pediatrician before arriving at the hospital. Some local pediatricians choose to come to the hospital to perform newborn screenings and circumcisions, but your pediatrician may choose to do circumcisions during your baby's first office visit.
30) How can I prepare my pet for a new baby in the house?
31) How will I receive my baby's birth certificate?
For your convenience, a representative from our Medical Records Department will visit you in your room to help you apply for your baby's birth certificate.
32) I'm considering banking my baby's cord blood. Do you work with a cord blood bank? If not, how can I arrange to transfer baby's cord blood?
Before your baby is delivered, moms who choose to bank their babies' cord blood need to request and obtain a kit from your cord-blood bank of choice. Your doctor and medical team will help to collect the cord blood. Patients are then responsible for sending the blood off to the cord-blood bank.
33) Will the hospital help me preserve my placenta?
Should you choose to preserve your placenta our team will help you to keep it chilled until you are discharged from the hospital. You will need to sign the required paperwork and provide your own cooler and ice for transporting your placenta out of the hospital.
34) Can I decline antibiotic eye ointment (ilotycin)?
Though strongly recommended, parents may choose to decline this service, as well as metabolic screening tests and infant hearing screenings. Because these screenings are required by Florida law, parents who refuse these tests must sign a declination form, which the hospital is required to submit to the state.
35) How many births take place at the hospital each year?
As the most preferred childbirth center in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, in addition to offering the regional center for high-risk pregnancy, Northwest Florida's only OB Emergency Care Center and the area's only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sacred Heart delivers more than 3,700 babies each year at our Pensacola campus - so we have a special knowledge and experience that you won't find anywhere else.
36) How long is the stay for a vaginal delivery? A C-section?
For healthy vaginal deliveries, most mothers and babies should plan to stay for 48 hours. Mothers undergoing a C-section typically go home within 48 to 72 hours. The hospital stay for either mother or baby may be longer if one of you experiences a complication.
37) Do you allow smoking?
No, Sacred Heart Health System is a tobacco-free campus.
38) When can I take my baby home?
Parents and guests are not permitted to take your baby out of the Maternity and Women's Center until your baby has been medically cleared for discharge by the doctor.