Your Hospital Stay

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

It's never too early to pack your hospital bag. That way it'll be ready and waiting, whether your baby comes right on-time or surprises you a few days early. Here are some suggestions on what to pack:

For Mom:

  • CD player and music, pillow, warm socks, lip balm, hand lotion
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, hairbrush, etc.
  • 2-3 nightgowns, bathrobe, underpants and comfortable slippers
  • Two nursing bras and nursing pads for breastfeeding moms
  • Sanitary napkins (The hospital supplies some, but you may prefer your own)
  • Telephone credit card or prepaid phone card (in case of bad cell phone reception)
  • List of who to call and telephone numbers
  • Money: a small amount only
  • Clothes for Mom to wear home (slightly larger than pre-pregnant size)
  • Outfit and receiving blanket to bring baby home
  • Car seat for baby's ride home installed in car
  • Optional: surprise gift for big brother/sister
  • Laptop with wireless card

For Support Person:

  • Watch with second hand for timing contractions
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Swimsuit (if Mom wants to labor in shower)
  • Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Cord blood collection kit
  • Clothes if spending the night
  • Camera
  • Film
  • Extra batteries or battery pack (note: tripods and power cords are not allowed)

Please do not bring:

  • Jewelry
  • Large amounts of money

What to Expect


Before you give birth, ask your support person to review these parking instructions. Free valet parking is available at the hospital, and we encourage you to use this option. If you choose to self-park, follow these instructions:

  • Your support person can park temporarily by the curb at the main entrance to Morton Plant Hospital.
  • Once (s)he has you safely inside the hospital, the car must be moved to the adjoining parking lot or nearby parking garage.


Upon your arrival at the hospital, your first stop will be the lobby information desk. There you will be greeted and directed to the new Labor and Delivery unit, which is located on the third floor of Doyle Tower.

Once you are admitted, you and your labor partner will settle into one of our labor and delivery rooms. Here a nurse will discuss your condition and perform a vaginal exam to determine cervical dilation and rupture of membranes. This exam determines the status of your cervix and the position of the baby's head. The nurse will monitor you and your baby's heart rate and review your prenatal history.

Length of stay

How long you stay in the hospital depends on the kind of birth you have and how you are healing. If you're anticipating a routine vaginal birth, plan to spend one to two days in the hospital. For a cesarean birth, expect to stay approximately three days. If you are experiencing a medical problem, you may have to stay in the hospital longer.

Getting out of bed

If you would like to get out of bed after giving birth, please remember to ask your nurse for help. If you had a routine vaginal birth, you will be encouraged to get out of bed within the first day. If you had a cesarean birth, you will get up and walk around within six to eight hours. This actually helps speed your recovery.

Taking care of yourself and your baby

If you are breastfeeding you will need additional calories and nutrients. You can get these by drinking extra milk and eating additional protein, whole grains and fruits and vegetables. If you had an episiotomy, check with your doctor or nurse for their recommendation about showering or bathing and for instructions on how to care for the stitches. Before you go home, your nurse will review specific infant care instructions and give you the opportunity to ask any questions.


    Whether or not to circumcise your baby boy is a personal decision, and you should ask your doctor for more information on the procedure. If you decide to have your baby circumcised, plan ahead and make arrangements with your physician during your last trimester. Issues you will want to discuss include:

    • Where it would be performed: some physicians will perform the procedure in the hospital before you go home and others will wait until your baby's first appointment.
    • Pain medication options for your baby.
    • Payment: since circumcision is not considered a medical necessity, it may not be covered by your insurance company. Check with your carrier.
    • Possible complications.


    Protecting You and Your Baby

    At Morton Plant Hospital, nothing is more important than protecting you and your baby. That's why we've put special precautions in place:

    • Safe, secure mother-baby unit with a 24-hour security system
    • Education so parents know to let only authorized hospital personnel with official photo I.D. badges into their rooms
    • Father/primary support person is welcome to stay with mother 24 hours a day
    • Two security bands are placed on your baby's ankle: one matches mom's band, and the other your support person's band - only individuals with the baby's matching band will receive information about the baby or be allowed into the nursery alone

    Visitors and Phone Calls


    We welcome visitors. Please check with the hospital for specific guidelines regarding visitors and visiting hours.

    Keep in mind that your hospital stay will be short, and you will be busy bonding with your baby and learning about parenting. Therefore, we recommend the following:

    • Limit visitors to close family and friends
    • Urge visitors with a cold or other illness to visit you at home when they're well
    • Ensure all visitors wash their hands especially before holding your baby
    • Keep visits short so you can rest
    • Encourage extended family, friends and others to visit you at home after you've had a few days to adjust to motherhood

    Phone Calls

    Relatives and friends will want to hear how the birth went and how you and your baby are doing. For your safety and your baby's, Morton Plant Hospital phone calls are answered centrally by the hospital reception desk. Callers should ask to be transferred to your room. For your privacy, we don't give out information about you or your baby over the phone. Calls will not be taken after 9pm. To reach The Maternity Center, relatives and friends can call (727) 462-7000.

    Pastoral Care

    Your spiritual and emotional well-being is important to us. Chaplains are available to visit, talk, and/or pray with you. You can reach a chaplain by calling the hospital operator. If you wish, we can contact your church or synagogue for you.

    Pregnancy Loss Support

    BayCare Health System  provides a comprehensive support program for women and their families who suffer a loss at any stage of pregnancy. Empathetic team members understand the emotional upheaval and grief during what is expected to be a joyful time and respect each family's unique needs.

    Pregnancy Loss Program coordinators have received specialist training and education from the nationally recognized Bereavement Services organization and are prepared to provide ongoing support through telephone calls, monthly support group sessions and annual events such as, "Walk to Remember" and a "Candlelight Remembrance Service."

    Pastoral Care assists Pregnancy Loss with patients' emotional and spiritual care including requests for prayers and blessing/baptism of the baby after delivery.

    For more information, call the Pregnancy Loss Program coordinators at: (727) 298-6619 or (727) 402-8160.