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Labor & Delivery

Baystate Medical Center's Wesson Women's & Infants' Unit is prepared to handle both routine care and unexpected urgent health situations for women in general and women in labor in particular.


  • The Unit's Own Ambulance Entrance -When women in labor arrive by ambulance, they go straight to our Women's Evaluation & Treatment Unit (WETU) instead of the Emergency Department for the general population.
  • Specialized Care for Women -The WETU is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The registered nurses and certified nurse-midwives in the unit specialize in obstetrical and gynecological urgent care.  They will quickly determine how urgently a woman needs medical attention.
  • What happens in the WETU:
    • A nurse or midwife in the WETU will evaluate your labor and then report to your care provider.
    • A vaginal exam will determine cervical dilation.
    • If you are in very early labor,
      • you may be sent home to be more comfortable.
      • Staff may urge you to walk around for an hour or two to bring more contractions or help them determine if the labor is true or not.
      • A fetal monitor will evaluate your labor contractions and the baby's heart rate.
      • Your partner/support person may stay with you to help you with your breathing and relaxation techniques.
    • Once in active labor, you will move to a private birthing room.
  • Dedicated Operating Suite for C-sections - The Wesson Women & Infants' Unit houses a dedicated operating suite for women who require a planned or emergency Cesarean section (C-section) delivery.  The suite includes three operating rooms and an adjoining four-bed Post Anesthesia Care Unit.
  • Skilled Surgeons, latest Technology - Our surgeons are part of Baystate's team of highly skilled physicians, many of whom are recognized nationally for their expertise in patient care, clinical research and medical education.  Our surgeons are current and knowledgeable in the latest technologies and procedures.  They have undergone years of extensive education and training, and most are board certified in their specialty. 
    • Anesthesia services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Cesarean and High Risk Pregnancy Unit -Patients who develop complications during pregnancy that require hospitalization or who have a Cesarean delivery are admitted to the Wesson 2/Cesarean & High Risk Pregnancy Unit. 
    • Women receive skilled nursing care that meets their specific medical needs.
    • Baby and partner may stay in the room.
    • Our obstetric professionals are experienced in high risk deliveries.
    • Babies who require special care are admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.


High Risk Pregnancies

The Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) is part of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baystate Medical Center. The three board-certified perinatologists in the Division provide specialized diagnostic, medical and surgical health care to high-risk pregnant women. In addition, the Division is a resource for physicians practicing within our geographic area including the Pioneer Valley, Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont and portions of Eastern New York State.


Clinical Services

  • The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division includes:
    • Perinatal Diagnostic Center, accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM)
    • Outpatient Service
    • Inpatient Service.
  • A Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, or Perinatologist, is a consultant who, by virtue of special interest and additional training, cares for and/or provides care for women with various complications of pregnancy. The Division works closely in conjunction with various other health care providers and specialties including:
    • Genetics
    • Pediatric Cardiology
    • Neonatology
    • Pediatric Surgery
    • Medical Endocrinology
    • Neurology and Neurosurgery 


The goal of the MFM Division is to provide a safe, satisfying childbearing experience for families with high risk pregnancies. Preconceptional counseling and cooperative management with other obstetric practitioners are especially emphasized.


If You Cannot Get to the Hospital in Time


Most women have enough time to get to the hospital in time to deliver their babies once labor begins.  In the rare exception, be prepared to follow these instructions for emergency deliveries for you and your support person:


How to tell it is too late to get to the hospital

  • You can feel the baby coming.
  • You have a strong urge to push or bear down that you cannot stop.
  • You can see the baby's head emerging from the vagina.


What the support person should do

  • Call 911
  • Have the mother lie down on a clean sheet or towel (under her buttocks).
  • Have her pant or blow to keep from bearing down.
  • Wash your hands (if there is time).
  • Place a hand over the baby's head and mom's perineum.  Use a small amount of counterpressure to prevent a fast deliver.  Mother should pant.
  • Ease the baby's head out, but do not pull on the baby.
  • If the membrane has not ruptured, tear it and pull it away from the baby's face.
  • If the cord is around the baby's neck, loosen it and slip it over the baby's head.
  • Hold the baby down and wipe any mucus from its mouth.
  • Dry the baby with a clean towel.
  • Place the baby on the mother's belly and cover the baby with a towel or blanket.
  • Do not pull on the placenta. Let it deliver naturally.
  • Do not cut the cord.
  • Wrap the placenta in a plastic bag and place it next to the baby.
  • Have the mother breastfeed the baby to cause the uterus to contract and prevent excessive bleeding.
  • Watch for bleeding.
  • Check the fundus (top of the uterus) by pushing down below the belly button.  The uterus should feel like a grapefruit.  If it is soft, massage it slowly until it becomes firm.  Repeat as needed.
  • If the baby is not breathing, massage the baby's back and chest.  Tap the feet gently.
    • If there is no response, check for a pulse
    • If there is no pulse, begin CPR.


The most important thing is to remain calm. There are usually no problems with emergency deliveries.  The ambulance will bring the mother and baby to the hospital to make sure that all is well.


Learn more about all aspects of labor and delivery at the National Women's Health Information website