Before Baby Arrives
Having a baby is one of the most memorable and precious moments for a family. During this exciting time of life, it is important to feel confident that you and your baby are receiving the best possible care.
While there are many choices a new family must make throughout this journey, being informed about the level of care you will receive can mean the difference between a happy experience and a less than positive one.
Our comprehensive team has the training, expertise and experience to guide you through the labor and delivery process. Our commitment to healthcare excellence has been demonstrated by our proven ability to provide quality, advanced level care.
Welcoming Your Little One
Forty weeks seems like plenty of time to prepare for your baby’s arrival. However, time goes by quickly. There are plenty of ways you can prepare for the arrival of your little one and make the process go more smoothly.
Below is a list of things to help you get prepared for your baby’s arrival:
- Take a hospital tour – It’s a good idea to take a hospital tour of East Cooper Medical Center to familiarize yourself with the facility and what to expect during your stay. We are not currently offering in-person tours, please watch our virtual tour here: https://www.eastcoopermedctr.com/services/obstetrics
- Take a birthing and newborn care class – Birthing classes will help you learn about the basics of labor, breathing and relaxing techniques and options for pain management. Newborn care classes are especially helpful for first-time parents and are geared toward helping the entire family prepares for the new addition. We also have a sibling class that will teach a new brother or sister how to hold a baby, how to bottle feed and even how to change a diaper.
- Know the breastfeeding basics – Breastfeeding does not always happen immediately or easily. It can be a learning process. Make sure you learn the basics before you give birth. East Cooper Medical Center offers free classes that can help prepare you for what to expect. Expecting mothers can take a two-hour breastfeeding class with IBCLC Certified Lactation Consultants who will teach you proper breastfeeding techniques.
- Pack your bag – You should also ease your mind by having your hospital bag packed with all the essentials a few weeks prior to your delivery date.
- Find a Pediatrician – The best time to start looking for a doctor for your baby is mid-way through the pregnancy. Friends, neighbors, and your OB/GYN are great resources for referrals.
Preparing for Baby
- Make your birth plan and decide who will attend the birth - Both making your birth plan and deciding who will attend the birth are very personal decisions. Take some time to research and determine the best options for you and your baby.
- Purchase essential equipment and set up the nursery – There are so many baby products on the market that knowing what you actually need becomes a little overwhelming. Ask friends, family, and other parents about what essentials are most important such as a car seat, crib or bassinet, diapers, wipes, clothing, linens, bottles, and formula. It’s vital to have the basics, so you are well prepared.
- Wash all baby’s linens and clothes prior to use – Make sure to wash all baby clothes, bedding, towels and washcloths in baby detergent before using.
- Install a car seat – Purchase a federally approved car seat and make sure it is properly installed. The safest placement for a car seat is the middle of the rear seat, facing backward. If you are interested in learning more about which car seat to choose and how to install it, please register for our Car Seat Safety class.
- Freeze meals, pack the fridge, and line up help – Before your due date, it is a good idea to stock your refrigerator with easy to prepare nutritious meals. If you’re fortunate enough to have family nearby it may also be helpful to discuss the various ways they may be able to help in the first couple of months.
Visiting hours are limited to the hours between 9:00am and 9:00pm. The husband or one adult may remain in the room overnight. During your hospital stay, please ask your visitors prior to entering the Labor & Delivery wing to press the button on the silver key pad located to the right of the double doors.
Please also note, visitors may be asked to leave at the nurse’s discretion if it is deemed advisable for the patient’s care and well-being.
For your safety, please ask for assistance if you need any of the furniture moved in your room.
For Your Infant’s Security
- Place infants on their back to sleep.
- All nursing personnel will be wearing a purple East Cooper Medical Center photo I.D. badge. The nursing staff will change shifts at 7:00am & 7:00pm. Always check for proper I.D. badge before you give your baby to anyone you do not know. Feel free to question anyone entering your room and if you are unsure, press your call light to ask for assistance.
- Keep your baby’s bassinet on the side of the bed opposite the door. This allows you to see anyone who approaches the baby. When the baby is in the room with you, your baby should be within view at all times.
- Other hospital staff may enter your room throughout the day. Housekeeping personnel may clean your room. Dietary and lab personnel may come to talk with or perform tests on you only. Engineering may need to make repairs and volunteers may deliver juice or flowers. If you are unsure about anyone, please call the nurse’s station.
- Do not leave your baby unsupervised in the room. If you take a shower, wish to walk or want an undisturbed nap, please return your baby to the Nursery where he/she can be closely observed.
- Do not carry your baby in your arms in the hall. We ask that you always transport him/her in the bassinet.
- When you pick up your baby from the Nursery or the nurse brings him/her to you, you will be asked to read the bold numbers on your ID bracelet to match with your baby’s bracelet. No Band=No Baby.
- If the new mother is medicated or is very sleepy, another adult must be at the bedside to ensure the safety of the baby. It is the nursing staff’s discretion to ask to return the baby to the Nursery to ensure safety.
- Do not remove your infant’s security sensor for any reason. This will set the infant security alarm off.
- When you are ready for discharge, the Nursery nurse will remove one bracelet from the baby for the medical record and have you sign the discharge papers. Staff/volunteers will assist you to your car in a wheelchair
Important Birth Certificate Information for your Baby
Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby! We are excited that you have chosen East Cooper Medical Center to provide care for you and your baby during this special occasion.
Following the birth of your infant, and an opportunity for you to recover, a member of the hospital’s Health Information Management Department will meet with you to collect information needed to complete your child’s birth certificate. Here are a few things you will need to know in order to complete the Mother’s Worksheet you will be provided in connection with birth certificate preparation:
- If you are married, your husband’s name will be added to the birth certificate.
- If you are not married and want to add the father’s name to the birth certificate, the mother and the father must sign a Paternity Acknowledgment. In this case, both parents will need to be present and have valid, government-issued picture identification such as a driver’s license or state identification card. (In this case, hospital staff must inform you of your rights and responsibilities as well as alternatives to signing the paternity acknowledgment form. Both parents are to be present for the explanation which takes approximately 10 minutes for hospital staff to provide.)
- If you are not a resident of the United States, there is a variety of documentation you can provide, including a Consular ID card. You may call the SC Parenting Opportunity Program at 1.866.914.8786 for more information. You may also contact the Office of Vital Records for information on acceptable forms of foreign identification at 803.898.3630.
- If you are legally married, regardless of how long you have been separated, and the father of your baby is not your legal husband, the biological father’s name will not be added to the birth certificate at the hospital. Please contact the South Carolina Parenting Opportunity Program, at 1.866.914.8786 for information and assistance regarding the requirements to add the biological father to your baby’s birth certificate.
- If there are any questions regarding the infant’s paternity (who the father is), contact SCPOP for information on low-cost paternity testing and do not sign the paternity acknowledgment. The paternity acknowledgment can be signed at the Office of Vital Records after the results of the paternity test are received for a small fee.
The hospital staff will file your infant’s birth certificate with the DHEC Vital Records Department in a timely manner. An official copy of the birth certificate will be immediately available to you from the Office of Vital Records. If you are unmarried and require a paternity acknowledgment to add the father’s name to the birth certificate, your baby’s birth certificate will be available from Vital Records in approximately 10 days.
If you have questions regarding any of the above information, please contact our hospital's Health Information Management Department / Birth Certificate Clerk at 843-416-6333.
Your Baby’s Birth Certificate
Your baby’s birth certificate will be used for legal purposes to prove your child’s age, citizenship and parentage throughout his or her life.
As a service to all new moms, the Medical Records Department will assist you with processing your baby’s birth certificate. Shortly after delivery, you will receive a “Mother’s Worksheet for Child’s Birth Certificate.”
You will need to complete the following information:
- Baby’s Full Name
- Mother’s Information
- Request for Baby’s Social Security Number
- Marital Status
- Father’s Information
The completed worksheet must be returned to the Nursery or given to your nurse BEFORE you leave the hospital. Then the information will be submitted electronically to DHEC in Columbia, South Carolina. If requested, you will receive your baby’s social security card in the mail within 4-6 weeks.
You will also receive an “Application for Certified Copy of Birth Certificate” form. DHEC requires that you mail a cashier’s check or money order for $12.00 with the completed form. It usually takes 6-8 weeks to receive your certified copy.
If you are single or divorced and would like to have the father’s name on the birth certificate, you must call the birth certificate clerk BEFORE you leave the hospital.
If you have any questions, please call our birth certificate clerk at:
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
It is our goal to take care of as many details as possible before your delivery visit so your entire stay, from start to finish, is focused on your family.
Important Things To-Do Prior to Your Delivery:
- Complete Your Pre-Registration Paperwork by Any of the Means Below
- Pre-register Online
- Print Online Form & E-mail to our secure website at: [email protected]
- Print Online Form & Fax to 843-416-6867 Attn: Maternity Pre-Registration
- Print Online Form & Drop off to registration staff at 2000 Hospital Drive, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
Please note doing this allows us to verify information and create an account for you in our system.
When you provide insurance information, we also begin verifying benefits and calculating any patient liability.
- Call 843-881-0100 or Stop In to Activate Your Account with a Maternity Coordinator
Within 30 days of your expected due date, please call to make an appointment so we can review your information, discuss any financial details and obtain necessary signatures on all consents and paperwork. Please bring your insurance cards and one form of identification to your appointment. We also recommend you review your insurance benefits and contact your insurance company if you have questions about your personal insurance policy. This step will expedite the admission process on the day of your delivery, allowing you to focus on your family.
- On Your Day of Delivery
When the anticipated date arrives, you will simply check in with the Admissions Department located to the right of the main desk in the lobby of the hospital. We’re open Monday through Friday from 5:30am to 5:00pm. Please enter the hospital through the Emergency Department between the hours of 5:00pm and 5:30am.
Selecting Your Baby’s Physician
When should I begin my search for a doctor?
Some parents know which doctor or practice they want for their baby before they even conceive, but many start the search during pregnancy and arrive at a decision when they're seven or eight months along.
We strongly urge you to identify a physician for your newborn prior to your hospitalization.
What kind of practitioner should I look for?
Many parents prefer to seek care from a pediatrician for their newborn. Their expertise is children's health and practicing with kids each day gives pediatricians a leg up on children’s medical issues. Other parents prefer a family practitioner who can treat the whole family from birth to old age. One advantage these parents point to is that the family practitioner should be well versed in health issues that pertain to your entire family (genetic diseases, for example). Either type of doctor is fine, as long as you feel comfortable and confident about your child's care.
I have some promising candidates. Now what should I do?
Before going a step further, you may want to consider the following points:
- Make sure all the doctors you're considering are taking on new patients and will accept your health insurance. Although this might seem unnecessarily cautious, it's wise to check with your state medical board to find out whether any doctor you're interested in has been disciplined for wrongdoing.
- Look over your list and note which doctors have convenient locations and office hours. The best doctor in the city can lose their luster if the office is hard to get to (imagine driving at rush hour with a sick and miserable child).
- Visit your top prospects at their office. Only a face-to-face meeting will show you whether this doctor has the warmth, sensitivity, and professionalism you're seeking. Most offices will accommodate your request for an interview with the doctor, although some practices charge for it. If this is the case, find out ahead of time whether your insurance company will pay for the meeting. Some insurance companies will if it's billed as an office visit.