Labor and Delivery

We know that the labor and delivery experience can be both exciting and stressful for moms and family members. The Palm Beach Health Network is  here to help you feel safe and comfortable from the moment you step into one of our labor and delivery hospitals to the time you go home with your newborn. Everything you may need during childbirth is right here, including access to a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at both St. Mary’s Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center, should the circumstances call for it.

Early Signs of Labor

Throughout your pregnancy you should always be aware of these simple signs of labor. You may begin to experience any one or more of the following:


  • Your water breaks
  • You have contractions that become stronger at shorter intervals
  • You have cramping and lower back pain that does not go away
  • You have a bloody (brown or red) mucus discharge

If you experience any of these signs, call your doctor or midwife immediately, even if it happens weeks before your due date, as you may experience preterm labor. Your doctor or midwife will then decide if it's time to go to a Palm Beach Health Network hospital.

The Stages of Labor

Labor progresses in three stages, though each stage is unique to each mother.

  • Stage 1: Stage one occurs in two parts and marks the time when a woman's body prepares for birth.
  • Latent Phase: Contractions begin during early labor, but they may be mild and infrequent. They become closer and stronger over time.  Your cervix may make small, incremental change during this phase. Active Phase: Contractions are now closer together and the cervix changes more rapidly until 10 centimeters is reached.
  • Stage 2: In this stage, you will begin pushing to move your baby through the birth canal.  Your baby is almost here!
  • Stage 3:  After birth, you will experience more contractions to help you deliver the placenta. This marks the end of labor and delivery and the beginning of the postpartum phase.

Pain Management Options

Everyone feels differently about managing pain during labor and delivery, and we support the choices you make for your birth experience. Though we cannot predict how your labor will progress, it can be helpful to have a plan in place for pain management.

Learn more about what to expect during labor and delivery, including a breakdown of what you'll experience once you arrive at the hospital.

Our Labor and Delivery Suites

No matter which Palm Beach Health Network hospital you choose, our labor and delivery rooms come equipped with everything you will need, from private rooms and bathrooms, dimmable lighting, extended visiting hours and accommodations for the new dad or support person to stay overnight. 

View Our Labor and Delivery Suites

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

When it comes to packing your hospital bag, it is best to have things ready around a month before your due date. Packing early gives you enough time to prepare for the unexpected, but should things move faster than planned, you can rest assured knowing that the hospital will provide you with all essential supplies for you and your newborn.

OB Hospitalists

The Palm Beach Health Network provides 24/7 OB hospitalists on-site to give you peace of mind in case of any OB emergency.  Our hospitalists are capable of performing complex vaginal deliveries and obstetrical surgery.


What is a Hospitalist?

Our OB/GYN Hospitalists are available 24/7 and are always onsite to provide supportive care in labor and delivery and postpartum units.

What Do OB/GYN Hospitalists Do?

Our Hospitalists provide:

  • Availability on-site 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Board-certified with experience in providing emergent care
  • Routine exams, evaluation of labor progress and review of test results and fetal monitoring
  • Delivery care
  • Emergent care, including emergency c-sections
  • Communication with your physician, midwife and/or other care providers to help ensure continuity of care

Have questions about the hospitalist program? Our patient navigation team can help answer your questions. Contact them below!

Contact a Maternity Navigator

You can have peace of mind knowing we will be by your side every step of the way.