Frequently Asked Questions About Having Your Baby at Scripps

Find answers to common questions about labor and delivery

Find answers to common questions about labor and delivery

Having a baby is an exciting and highly emotional experience, especially if this is your first birth. The questions below will help you understand what to expect when you choose to have your baby at Scripps. 


Should I pre-register at the hospital before labor and delivery?

Yes. Please register at the Scripps hospital where you plan to have your baby several weeks before your due date. This allows us to process all necessary paperwork, including notifying your insurance company, before you arrive. You can pick up registration paperwork at your doctor’s office. Please bring your insurance card and photo ID with you to the hospital.


Should I choose a pediatrician before my baby is born?

It’s a very good idea to select a pediatrician for your baby before you deliver. We recommend you begin looking for a pediatrician approximately 27-29 weeks into your pregnancy. See these guidelines to selecting the right pediatrician for your baby.


What should I pack for the hospital?

It’s important to pack your photo ID, your insurance plan and your hospital paperwork in preparation for delivery. Other items to pack include a change of clothes, as well as clothes for your new baby and your support person.


Will I go through labor and delivery in the same room?

Yes. At all Scripps maternity units you will experience labor, delivery and recovery in the same room. However, if you deliver by C-section (cesarean section) or require surgical care, you will be cared for in an operating room within the maternity unit.


Can you support my birth plan?

The birth of your baby is a special and unique experience, and a memory that you will always cherish. For many women, it can be helpful to have a birth plan in place before delivery.


A birth plan is a written guide to your labor preferences. It is given to the nurses and your physician when you arrive at the hospital to help the clinical staff understand your wants and needs during your delivery. We can accommodate many common birth plans and labor preferences. Ask about your specific preferences when you take the maternity tour at the hospital where you will give birth.


How many people can join me in the room for delivery?

The number of people allowed in the room for vaginal deliveries varies depending on where you deliver; talk to your doctor to discuss your options. For all vaginal deliveries, your support person will be allowed in the room with you. For cesarean section deliveries at all locations, only one person will be allowed to accompany you.


How long will I stay in recovery after childbirth?

Your time in recovery will depend on the type of delivery and anesthesia used. Most women stay an average of two hours before being moved to a postpartum room.


Postpartum rooms vary by hospital. Private rooms are available at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego. Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas has both private and semi-private rooms, and Scripps Mercy Chula Vista has semi-private postpartum rooms.


Will staff be available to help me breastfeed right after delivery?

Yes! All Scripps maternity units encourage and support your decision to breastfeed, and our maternity nurses are specially trained to help new mothers with breastfeeding. In addition, lactation experts are available to offer support in the hospital. Read more about our breastfeeding services


Can my support person stay overnight with me in the hospital?

In most cases, your support person may stay with you overnight.


What are visiting hours?

Visiting hours and regulations may vary by hospital. All locations allow the support person to visit 24 hours a day. See our locations for more information. Please note that visiting hours are subject to change during flu season.


Can children visit?

Children must be accompanied and supervised at all times by a visiting adult. Children who have not received their childhood vaccines should not visit. Visitors who are ill or do not feel well should refrain from visiting if they have an infection, fever, cold, cough, runny nose, rash, diarrhea or vomiting.


Please note that visiting policies are subject to change during flu season.


How soon will my baby and I be able to leave the hospital?

This will vary depending on how you and your baby are doing. Ask your obstetrician regarding specific concerns about your length of stay and health insurance allowances.


Hospital stays for vaginal births are 48 hours or less, and 96 hours or less following a cesarean birth. Be aware of what your insurance covers to avoid unexpected, out-of-pocket costs.


Is a car seat required for my baby?

Yes, your baby must be in an approved car safety seat when you leave the hospital. Find out more about car safety for your baby.