Tacoma General Hospital

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Patient and Visitor Information

What to Expect at Tacoma General Hospital

We know that childbirth is one of the most exciting, special and personal experiences of your lifetime. There are so many things to prepare for – everything from your birth plan to which car seat to buy. We want to make it easy for you - so we put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you prepare.

What can I do to prepare for delivery while I’m pregnant?
Choose a pediatrician: Take time before your birth to select a pediatrician who is just right for your family. Your new pediatrician will examine your baby after he or she is born.

Paternity affidavit: Paternity must be established if parents are not married or paternity is in question. Our records specialists will answer any questions and help you fill out forms to establish paternity if necessary.

Where do I go once I arrive at Tacoma General?
    When you come to the Tacoma General Birth Center, please use our main Olympic Lobby (formerly 3K) entrance for registration. For your convenience valet services are available outside of the entrance from 5am – 10pm. Valet services can be coordinated after 10pm as well. Our staff at the Olympic Lobby will be available to register you 24 hours a day and assist you with all your needs.

    The address is:
    315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
    Tacoma, WA 98415

    Visitor parking will still be available in P2 (formerly the 5th Street Parking Garage).

    If you have any questions, please call the Birth Center at 253-403-1032.

    What happens when I arrive?
    Once you arrive at labor and delivery on 2nd floor - Rainier Pavilion, you will first check in at the nurse’s station. Your first stop after that will be the triage room. A nurse will assess you and your baby and consult with a physician. Depending on where you are in your labor process, a decision will be made to admit you to a delivery room or not. At this point you may be admitted to a private birthing suite on the second floor. If you are still in the early stages of labor, it may be too early to admit you. A nurse will help you decide what is best for you.

    Will my physician be at my birth?
    Your physician can deliver your baby as long as they enjoy full delivery privileges at Tacoma General Hospital. Consult with your physician beforehand and they can answer any questions you may have.

    If for some reason your physician is unable to attend the birth, we have obstetricians in-house 24 hours a day.

    What happens if there are any complications?
    Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Should any complications arise during or after delivery, advanced and specialized care is just steps away with our level IIIb NICU.

    In-house obstetricians 24 hours a day: No matter what time of day it is, we have providers available around the clock to provide the care you and your baby need.

    Maternal Fetal Medicine: These obstetrician-gynecologists have completed advanced training in the care of very high-risk pregnancies and births. They work in consultation with your OB/GYN and are on-call at Tacoma General 24 hours a day.

    What happens after my baby is born?
    After your baby is born, you will need some time to rest and recover. You can relax and recuperate before you and your baby transfer upstairs to a private room. We understand you will want to spend precious time with your newborn, so the baby will be with you at all times. A family member or primary support person is also welcome to share these special moments with you.

    Lactation assistance:  If you choose to breastfeed, we’ll provide all the assistance you need to get started in the privacy of your own room.

    Education:  As a new parent, there is so much to learn. From changing a diaper to bathing your newborn, we will show you the proper way to care for your new child.

    Newborn testing: An array of tests will be done on your newborn to make sure your baby is healthy, including hearing loss as well as newborn jaundice.

    When are visiting hours?
    We understand that babies are on their own schedules, which is why at Tacoma General we don’t have any restrictions on visiting hours. Your family and friends are free to visit you and your new baby at any time.

    How long will I stay in the hospital after my baby is born?
    Your time spent at the hospital will depend on what type of birth you have. Typically, if you have a vaginal birth you will spend 48 hours in the hospital. Cesarean delivery cases are typically required to spend 72 hours in the hospital. Your health care provider will discuss with you when you and your baby will be discharged.

    What happens after I leave the hospital?
    Discharge Information: You will be receiving education in a wide variety of ways to help you care for yourself and new baby after you leave the hospital. Nursing staff will provide one-on-one instruction for you and your family. We also provide written materials and videos on various topics.

    Car Seat Program: Plan ahead to be ready for a safe ride home from the hospital. The Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety offers a weekly car seat check-up event on Tuesdays from 9-10:30am at 1112 S. 5th Street (except holidays or inclement weather). Your third trimester is a great time to visit our Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who can teach you how to adjust and install your car seat properly.  If you don’t have a safe car seat for discharge, you can purchase one at the Tacoma General Outpatient Pharmacy.  If you have questions about safe travel, either at home or while here at the hospital, call the Mary Bridge Car Seat Help Line at 253-403-1417.

    Mom and Baby Boutique: Before you leave, stop by our convenient boutique, which offers everything a new mom needs, from nursing bras to massages and a great array of gift ideas.