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An Insider’s Guide to Birth at…  IU Arnett Hospital

An Insider’s Guide to Birth at…
IU Arnett Hospital

         In my doula career I have supported birth in a variety of facilities.  That said, I most often find myself at IU Arnett Hospital in my role of doula.  My personal experience also includes the three deliveries of my own children.  I also volunteer as a leader for the breastfeeding support group.

IU Arnett is located at 5165 McCarty Lane, Lafayette, IN 47905.  The hospital is known for their birthing tubs, midwives, specialists in obstetrics, and their Riley NICU. 

Checking In

         When it is time to head to the hospital for delivery, especially after regular office hours, moms are directed to check in at the Emergency Department Desk.  Once checked in and paperwork signed, a nurse from the Labor and Delivery will come down and meet you and escort you upstairs.  A wheelchair will be offered, but many moms prefer to walk instead of sitting while in labor.  A quick trip upstairs to the third floor will bring you to one of the seven labor and delivery rooms. 

         The labor and delivery rooms are among the most spacious that I have seen.  There is plenty of room to move about in labor.  A full couch that folds out to a bed along with a reclining rocker are in the room.  The bathrooms have walk-in showers with adjustable handled sprayers, great for directing spray on sore backs or tender bellies.  Also enough space for partner support if desired.

         If you come to the hospital for observation, not quite sure you are in labor, or if your water has broken you may begin in one of the four triage rooms.  The rooms have all the same amenities as the L&D rooms but with less square footage.


         After being checked in, you have the option to change into a hospital gown or stay in your own clothing.  Your care provider will want some initial monitoring of baby’s heartbeat and your contraction patterns.  This is typically for a continuous 20 minute strip.  Wireless monitors are available upon request.  These are waterproof and are great for mobility and using the tub and shower.  Birthing Balls and Peanuts are available upon request.  The hallway has railings which are great to hold onto during contractions while walking the halls.

The Staff

         The nursing staff are very helpful and responsive to patient requests.  They work 12 hour shifts so the continuity of care is a great plus.  If their shift ends before baby is born, many nurses have taken time at their next shift to follow up with the mother and baby.  The hardworking nurses have greatly appreciated when patients bring snacks to share at the nursing station.

         If you choose the midwifery model of care, you will find your midwife more present during your labor.  Low risk mothers are encouraged to eat and drink in labor.  Water birth in inflatable birthing tubs are also an option for midwife patients.

         The OBs also bring decades of experience.  The doctors listen to the mothers and exercise a measure of patience in birth.  When birth varies from its normal course, as birth sometimes does, they are right there with the skills to support the goal of a healthy mom and baby.


         The hospital is familiar with baby friendly practices such as delayed cord clamping, skin to skin with the mother after birth, and waiting at least eight hours before baby’s first bath.  The goal is to get baby to the breast within the first hour after birth, if the mother choses to breastfeed.

         Once baby is delivered and mom is recovering, you will be moved over to the Mother and Baby wing next door on the third floor.  Postpartum rooms are the same layout as the triage rooms, but with a typical hospital bed.  Parents can direct to the nursing staff who they do and don’t want to visit.  A family room is available as well.  Three lBCLCs are on staff and visit mothers requesting additional lactation support.  A weekly breastfeeding support group meets on Thursdays from 10-11:15 in the classroom on the third floor.

No place would I rather be…

         IU Arnett Hospital a great place for birth, offering many options for the expectant mother.  Be it a natural delivery or need of skilled care during a cesarean delivery; quality of care is provided.  Even though I have seen other places to birth, for me IU Arnett feels like home.


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