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What can I expect at the hospital and other FAQs

What is Oula’s role if I need an emergency c-section or other emergency care from a physician? Will I be cared for by one of the OBs from Oula?

In the event of emergency or urgent obstetrical needs during your labor or birth, one of our physician colleagues from MSW will be on hand 24/7 to provide direct patient care. Your Oula provider will introduce you to this OB-GYN and provide support for ongoing communication and collaboration between the assembled team: you, your birth partner(s), your Oula midwife and the OB-GYN and stay very involved in your care.

In the event of a cesarean birth during labor, the MSW OB-GYN will provide the expert surgical care needed and they will round on you daily after your surgery to provide any medical support needed during your hospital stay. Your Oula provider will also be involved in your care daily and seamlessly support your discharge, including providing education, support and resources postpartum. Oula will provide all postpartum care and support after discharge from the hospital, including a wound check visit at 2 weeks postpartum, weekly virtual office hours, as well as your routine 6 week postpartum visit.

What is Oula’s role if I have a planned c-section? WIll it be performed by an Oula OB?

If you have a planned c-section, our Oula OB team will be present for your birth as well as our midwifery team, when available. You will have the opportunity to meet with your Oula OB ahead of the delivery to ensure all your questions are answered. Oula will provide all medical care at MSW, including postpartum support and discharge planning and care.

What happens if there is more than one Oula patient in labor at once?

Our care team is trained to safely support more than one patient in labor when the situation arises. We are committed to making sure you have all the support you need during your hospital stay. In the rare event that we are truly called away for an extended period of time to care for another patient, we have a backup system in place where another Oula provider will be available to support you. In addition to your Oula care team member, we will also introduce you to the MSW OB-GYN Attending Physician in the event that their services are needed and make sure you feel comfortable and all your questions are answered. At the hospital, we work together as a team to support our patients and make sure that you, and all of our patients, are safe and have all the information you need.

What interaction / support can I expect from the Oula provider postpartum (vs. the MSW staff)?

Oula providers will be present during the first few hours after your birth. Once you move to postpartum, you will be assigned a postpartum nurse from MSW to provide round-the-clock direct care, support and education. Your Oula provider will round on you every day during your hospital stay as will a MSW pediatrician to discuss your newborn’s adjustment and discharge plan. Oula will help coordinate any aspects of your care that involve medical decision making or concerns, regarding you and/or your baby.

What happens/what is Oula’s role in triage?

Triage is a space for information gathering around the 3 most important components of safe labor. First is you the birthing person – your well being as a whole person – meaning how are you working with your pain, what are your vital signs, space to address any fear or anxiety about the process thus far. The second is the well being of your baby. This is assessed by fetal ultrasound and heart monitoring information gathered in triage. And the third is your labor – understanding your contraction pattern and cervical exam will help your medical team to know which phase of labor you’re in and how best to anticipate and support what comes next in the birthing process.

Practically, triage is the area where you enter medical care at the hospital. At MSW, it is located on the 12th Floor, to the right of the L&D Unit. Check in at the desk upon arrival. This is the space where we welcome all patients to L&D. You will be greeted by the MSW triage team and assigned a nurse to begin your care while your Oula care member is consulted about your arrival.

Once we have all the triage information, your Oula care provider will talk with you about decisions around what comes next – generally this looks like either being admitted to the hospital, asked to ambulate (walk around) for an hour or two and be re-evaluated clinically, or discharged to home. If you are admitted to the hospital you and your birth partner(s) will head to your private L&D room with your Oula provider.

Prior to arriving to triage, you will be in contact with your Oula care team member over the phone to discuss your triage arrival plan and expectations around when you will see your Oula team member. We know this transition from home to the hospital causes stress and anxiety in the process. The MSW triage unit is staffed 24/7 by our supportive team of nurses, medical residents and an attending OB/GYN physician who will participate in your care under guidance from your Oula provider. They will provide any relevant medical information to your Oula care team member directly and you will be able to speak to your Oula provider at any time with questions or concerns.

What happens/what is Oula’s role if I have to go to the hospital for an emergency evaluation before I am in labor?

Emergencies during pregnancy, and before labor begins, while rare, may occur. In this event you will be in touch with your Oula provider by phone. We will counsel you on where and when to seek medical care. If you are seen at MSW with a non-labor emergency, the MSW Triage Team and Attending OB/GYN will be responsible for your medical care. Oula will follow up with you closely after your medical plan is created to personalize next steps and make sure you have all the resources and support you need.

Are masks required at MSW?

Consistent with the NYS mandate, masks are required for all staff, providers, patients and visitors in hospital settings. You can bring any type of mask you choose for labor and surgical masks will be provided.

Can you eat and drink at MSW?

The official hospital policy around eating and drinking at MSW is for clear fluids only once you are admitted in labor. That includes coconut water, tea, broth (such as bone or miso), juice, ice chips, jello or popsicles. We will encourage you to eat more substantial food in early labor before arriving at the hospital. It’s important to keep in mind that there may be some exceptions to this policy and some times where it is important to follow. We will work with you to ensure you have all the essential nourishment you need for the work of labor, including planning your celebratory postpartum meal!

Will I be able to move around in labor at MSW?

Yes. Movement is essential to our model of care for two main reasons. One is that movement helps to reduce tension in the body and that reduces the experience of pain. In taking care of you as a whole person, regardless of which pain management pathway you are choosing, we want to make sure we work to reduce pain in your experience. Secondly, movement helps to promote normal physiologic labor and birth by encouraging contractions and opening your pelvic passageway. We will have suggestions for different positions for labor, pushing and recovery and we welcome your ideas as well. You’re welcome to bring a birth ball with you in labor!

What are the pain methods available to me at MSW?

We provide non-judgmental care in choosing unmedicated labor, nitrous oxide and epidurals for pain management in labor. We’ll talk more about the pros and cons of these different pathways in our Birth Plan Workshop at 30 weeks.

Are doulas welcome at MSW?

Yes, definitely! We love doulas and are committed to ensuring that all of our patients at Oula who would like to work with a doula are able to, regardless of ability to pay. Please find our doula referral resource in the portal or reach out to our care team with questions about doulas at anytime in your pregnancy care.There is a two-person support / visitation policy at MSW so just keep that in mind that your doula does count as one of your visitors as you begin envisioning your care team for your labor and birth experience.

What is the visitor policy at MSW?

There are two visitors allowed with you at MSW during labor in your private birthing suite. In the triage area, there is one visitor allowed and a waiting room for your 2nd support person. When you move to postpartum, you could change who your two support people are – for example your birth doula could head to rest and a family member could replace them at that time. There is no further swapping of support people allowed during your hospital stay due to COVID protocols. Children are not permitted on L&D or Postpartum.

Postpartum Stay at MSW

Insurance covers 48 hour stay (two nights) after a vaginal delivery or 3-4 nights after a Cesarean birth. In some instances early discharge, after 24 hours, is possible with Pediatrician approval. If you have any medical complications after your birth, your insurance will cover an extended stay,  but this is extremely rare and unlikely. MSW is committed to providing as many of our patients as possible with private rooms but it is not guaranteed and is assigned first come first serve. There is no fee or waiting list for private rooms.