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Family Birth Center

Picture of a Family Birth Center room
Sacred hour
breastfeeding room at st. mary's
Photo of Bridges' family with nursing staff

Thank you for choosing St. Mary’s Family Birth Center for your Labor & Delivery needs.

We are honored to be a part of your special day! There’s no place like St. Mary’s to bring your baby into the world!

Compassionate care with five-star comfort and state-of-the-art facilities.

family birth center
family birth center
family birth center
family birth center
family birth center
family birth center
family birth center
welcome packet Family Birth center
Click here to view our Welcome Packet.
Family Birth center Classes
Click here to view our Family Birth Center Classes.

Come tour the St. Mary’s Family Birth Center!

Our tours are the 1st Sunday at 1pm and 3rd Thursday at 6pm.

It is free and no reservations are required.

Pre-Register for Your Delivery Stay

To simplify your experience and ensure a quicker check-in process, we encourage all patients to pre-register for services.

Why choose St. Mary’s Family Birth Center?

  • Stay in the SAME PRIVATE ROOM for labor, delivery, and recovery at St. Mary’s when you have an uncomplicated delivery!
  • The first hour after birth, The Sacred Hour, is reserved for mother and baby where it is encouraged that no visitors be present except for one support person. After this hour is complete, visitors are welcome at your discretion. During The Sacred Hour, mother and baby will be skin-to-skin. This helps regulate your baby’s temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and blood sugar levels. Some other benefits of skin-to-skin include: • Easier adjustment for your baby • Easier to bond with your baby • Easier to learn breastfeeding • Early initiation of breastfeeding
  • In the event a c-section is required, our Family Birth Center staff is fully trained in cesarean delivery and our dedicated c-section surgery suite is only a few steps from your main room, so you get the care you and your baby need, all without leaving the Family Birth Center.
  • St. Mary’s encourages you and your baby to remain together in your private room, but for those times you would like to take a break, the Joe Ann Mitchell Newborn Nursery is adjacent to the nurses station so your baby is in good hands while you rest.
  • St. Mary’s sophisticated equipment, skilled staff, and the most up-to-date anesthesia medicines and techniques, make birthing safer and more comfortable.
  • In the event your baby needs extra medical care, St. Mary’s state-of-the-art NICU is located just one floor above the Family Birth Center.
  • Our Family Birth Center also includes the latest patient safety equipment and protocols to provide the most secure facility possible for you and your baby.

Childbirth, Baby Care, and Infant CPR Classes

birthing classes Family Birth centerTo register, call 706.389.3389 today. You can also call toll-free from anywhere in Georgia: (800) 491-4677 or visit our online class calendar here.

Lactation & Breastfeeding Support

lactation Family Birth centerBreastfeeding is wholly supported at St. Mary’s with our Certified Lactation Consultants and our entire nursing staff. To learn more about our award-winning Lactation care, click here.

What to Do & Bring

Decide which items you will need for labor, birth, recovery, and the trip home for both you and your baby and put them into a carrying bag to keep in your trunk, or somewhere handy at home, and grab it on your way to the hospital when the time arrives.

  • Pre-register online well before your due date
  • Photo ID and current insurance card/information
  • Camera, film, extra film, extra batteries, battery charger, extra card – Cell phone and charger
  • List of whom to call
  • Video camera and battery charger (please note, Cesarean section deliveries may not be videotaped, but cameras are allowed)
  • Music player or iPod docking station Eyeglasses or contact lens case with solution
  • Labor support aids, such as massage lotion and focal point
  • Personal hygiene items, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, lip balm, comb and brush, deodorant
  • Book or eReader
  • Your laptop – wireless Internet is available
  • A robe, nightgown, slippers
  • Snacks
  • A comfortable support bra and if breastfeeding, a nursing bra
  • Clothing for baby to wear home and several receiving blankets
  • Clothing to wear home Baby book (so the nurses can put footprints in the book for you)
  • DVD or VHS movies
  • ‘Your’ pillow (if you are attached) – we will provide plenty of hospital-grade pillows for your use; however, if you bring ‘your’ pillow, please use a brightly colored pillowcase so we do not mistake it for one of ours.
  • Please note – we do not allow candles, incense, or anything that burns.

Telephone Calls

  • All patient rooms have telephones.
  • Dial “9” to make an outside call.
  • Cell phones are permitted in the Family Birth Center.
  • Outside calls can be made to your room by dialing 706.389.3800, then entering your room number.
  • Staff members are not permitted to give out patient information over the phone.
  • We will gladly hold calls and take messages for you if you prefer.
    It may be best if you encourage family and friends to wait until you contact them.
  • Main switchboard number is 706.389.3000
  • Family Birth Center nurses station is 706.389.3300

What to do if you think you're in Labor

  • Call your doctor before coming to the hospital
  • Go to patient registration upon your arrival to St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Patient registration is located in the main lobby from 6:30am until 5pm
  • After 5pm registration is located in the Emergency Department.
  • It may be best to notify family and friends after your labor status has been determined
  • Remember to bring your bags!

Extended Length of Stay

After you deliver…
…plan on a 2 night stay after a vaginal delivery
…plan on a 3-4 night stay after a Cesarean delivery

Compliments or Complaints

Please feel free to share your “thanks for a good job” or “opportunities for improvement” with us. Simply dial 100 from any hospital telephone, or from outside the hospital call 706.389.3000 and ask for the 100 percent line.

Visitors to the Family Birth Center

    • Siblings of the new baby are welcome!
    • To protect the health of you and your new baby, visitors with cold or flu

symptoms should be discouraged. Mom’s and Baby’s immune systems are not at their optimum level during this time.

  • So that we may protect the privacy of all patients, visitors are not permitted to wait in the hallway. All visitors are asked to wait in the Family Waiting Area by the nursery viewing window.
  • The number of visitors during labor & delivery is at the discretion of your nurse and your physician. Please remember your nurse or physician may limit the number of visitors during this time in order to ensure you receive the best care possible.
  • During initiation of the epidural, only one support person may remain in the room until the epidural has been placed and mom has been stabilized.
  • There may be times your physician or nurse recommend you do not receive visitors. This is most common when you are receiving treatment for increased blood pressures.
  • Following a Cesarean Section, mom will “recover” in her room with her significant other and the baby (when possible), instead of going to the Recovery Room. Additional visitors will be encouraged to wait in the Family Waiting Area for approximately one hour following completion of surgery.
  • One family member may spend the night with mom while in the hospital. Please remind the overnight visitor to bring appropriate pajamas.
  • Information on where to park can be found here.


Other Reminders

  • Choose a pediatrician before you come to the hospital. Many require a prenatal visit before accepting newborns as patients.
  • You will be asked to complete the birth certificate before leaving the hospital.
  • If the mother and father are not married, they must sign a paternity acknowledgement in order for the father to be listed on the birth certificate.
  • This is a friendly reminder that to be discharged from St. Mary’s Hospital you must have a car seat installed for your baby. For information on the car seat requirements in Georgia, and other helpful car seat resources, CLICK HERE. The Athens-Clarke County Police Department can have a Nationally Certified Car Safety Seat Technician inspect your child safety seat for free.

Online Baby Pictures

To protect the privacy of our moms, dads and babies, St. Mary’s does not post newborn photos on our website. However, if you are a parent or parent-to-be, we make it easy for you to share pictures of your newborn through a premium service called Bella Baby photography.

Bella Baby sends professional photographers to St. Mary’s every day to take beautiful, intimate portraits of new babies. If you request this service, photos from your session will be posted in a password-secured section of Bella Baby’s website where you — and those with whom you share the password — can view them for two weeks while deciding if you wish to place an order. Package pricing begins at $39.
To find out more, visit

Newborn Security

  • At delivery, four infant ID bands will be provided with identical information and numbers (one each for mom and significant other, two for baby). All bands will be put on at delivery
  • An electronic security band will be placed on baby in the nursery. This band will set off an alarm if the baby gets close to any stairwells or elevators.
  • Infants must be in their bassinet in the halls, please do not carry them.

St. Mary’s Women’s Care is recognized for excellence…

WCA Family Birth center wca stroke 2015 Family Birth center

St. Mary’s is proud to receive the Women’s Choice Award from WomenCertified for Patient Experience and Obstetrics. WomenCertified ranks St. Mary’s as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Patient Experience in Obstetrics in 2013, 2014, and 2015. St. Mary’s is also recognized by WomenCertified in America’s top 100 hospitals for Patient Safety.

Patient Stories

Learn about Jill and Jackson Michael’s story, whose triplets were born at St. Mary’s Family Birth Center.

Read their story and watch their video

Photo of the NICU

Read more about Chrissy Bridges NICU Story – Saving Baby Isabelle

Watch as Chrissy Bridges shares her NICU StorySaving Baby Isabelle 

The St. Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides an individualized, compassionate healing environment by caring for patients ranging from critically ill premature infants to full-term infants with minor illnesses.

Click here to learn more about the NICU at St. Mary’s