Skip to Content

Additional Content In This Section

Labor and Delivery

After nine months of pregnancy, it's time to prepare for the labor and delivery of your baby.

Signs of Labor

Some women experience very distinct signs of labor, while others do not. No one knows what causes labor or when it will start, but several hormonal and physical changes may indicate the beginning of labor. These changes include:

  • Lightening: The process of your baby settling or lowering into your pelvis just before labor.
  • Passing of the mucus plug: When the cervix begins to open wider, the mucus accumulated at the cervix during pregnancy, is discharged into the vagina and may be clear, pink or slightly bloody.
  • Contractions: During contractions, the abdomen becomes hard. Between contractions, the uterus relaxes and the abdomen becomes soft. Labor contractions usually cause discomfort or a dull ache in your back and lower abdomen, along with pressure in the pelvis. Some women describe contractions as strong menstrual cramps. Contractions move in a wave-like motion from the top of the uterus to the bottom. True labor contractions do not stop when you change your position or relax.
  • Water breaking
  • Effacement and dilation of the cervix

Cesarean Birth

At Altru, all Cesarean births (delivery through surgical incision in the mother's lower abdomen and uterus) are performed by an obstetrician in the Family Birthing Center surgical suite.

Located directly across from the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery and conveniently close to your private room, the surgery can include your partner. After your anesthesia has been given, your partner is invited in to share the experience. When the surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room for approximately one hour while your partner is with your newborn in the nursery.

The surgical team consists of a group of professionals with expertise in all specialties necessary for your surgery.

  • Anesthesiologist
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • Surgical Technician
  • Assistant Surgeon
  • Circulating Labor and Delivery Nurse
  • Obstetrician

Maternal Transport

A skilled maternal and/or neonatal transport team is available 24 hours a day.This team provides specialized care during transport to Altru's Family Birthing Center from outlying areas in the region. The team includes a high risk labor and delivery nurse, neonatal transport nurse and an emergency room paramedic.

While most pregnancies today are low-risk, some do become high-risk prior to delivery and, upon physician request, benefit from the maternal transport team at Altru.

To contact the Maternal Transport Program, call 800.842.3922 or 701.780.5482.

For non-emergency questions about the transport program, call 701.780.5474.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Within Altru's Family Birthing Center is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU is a 16-bed, Level IIIB nursery specifically designed to care for critically ill infants and assist with high-risk deliveries.

Experienced physicians use the latest technology to provide specialized care to those in need. Working in collaboration with providers throughout Altru Health System and Mayo Clinic, our NICU providers make decisions in the assessment, diagnosis and management of the health care needs of neonates and infants.

Our full-service neonatal transport team is available nonstop to move infants requiring intensive care services to and from Altru Health System.