Childbirth at Duke University Hospital

The Birthing Center

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Having a baby is one of the most important milestones in your family’s life. Choosing where you give birth is an equally important decision. The obstetrics team at Duke University Hospital delivers more than 3,000 babies each year. We provide compassionate, family-centered care to mothers, newborns and their families throughout pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. Our skilled staff is dedicated to ensuring your personalized birth experience takes place in a safe, comfortable environment that is tailored to the needs of you and your baby.

Choosing the Right Hospital to Have Your Baby

Duke obstetricians provide prenatal care to women who may choose to deliver their babies at Duke University Hospital's Birthing Center in Durham. As a regional referral center, the Duke Birthing Center offers a level of specialized experience that is not found at community hospitals. Our board-certified perinatologists (who specialize in maternal-fetal medicine), obstetric-trained anesthesiologists and nurses work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We know every woman’s childbirth experience is different. Our team is prepared day and night to handle every situation, from normal deliveries and C-sections to high-risk pregnancies and emergency situations.

Once your baby arrives, we encourage you to room in with your little one in one of our postpartum recovery rooms. If your baby needs complex medical care, our Level IV nursery is staffed by board-certified neonatologists and nurses who care for low birth weight infants, preemies, and infants with serious conditions such as heart defects. This breadth of expertise ensures you experience the highest quality care and best possible outcome from the minute you become pregnant to the delivery and care of your baby.

During the postpartum process, you’ll recover in one of our private postpartum rooms, learn to breastfeed from our board-certified lactation consultants and work with our experienced nurse practitioners to begin your transition home with your new baby. You’ll find more details about each stage of your labor, delivery and postpartum recovery below.

Preparing for your Baby’s Birth

We encourage you to tour our labor and delivery unit and take classes to prepare for your child’s birth and for being a new parent. We also offer classes to help you get ready for childbirth and what to expect afterward. Our classes help you prepare for labor and delivery and C-sections, and offer an understanding about epidurals. We also prepare you for life as a new mom, with classes that focus on breastfeeding, baby care, infant/child CPR and tips for getting back in shape, and more.

  • Preparing for labor
  • Preparing for caesarean birth
  • Preparing for baby: Duke birthing tour
  • Preparing for baby: boot class for dads/coaches
  • Preparing for baby: sibling class and Duke birthing tour
  • Postpartum and newborn care
  • Preparing for breastfeeding

Having your Baby

To help you understand what we offer, the following information highlights the level of care you will receive at Duke University Hospital.

  • A dedicated team of OB experts. Our team includes general obstetricians, gynecologists, obstetric anesthesiologists, board-certified perinatologists, neonatologists and highly experienced nurse practitioners.
  • Midwife services. Our certified nurse midwives are nurse practitioners and experts in normal labor and birth, and support you, your baby, and your family during your postpartum care. 
  • High-risk pregnancy care. Our perinatologists provide comprehensive care to women with high-risk pregnancies, including care for women who are carrying multiples, who have a history of pregnancy complications (miscarriage, preterm delivery or cervical incompetence) or who have a preexisting medical condition, such as heart disease, lupus or a seizure disorder.
  • Gentle and complex C-sections. We maintain three dedicated operating rooms for C-sections. If you deliver your baby by Caesarean delivery, we may be able to make small changes to the procedure to allow you and your partner to feel part of the birth process. We are also a referral center for challenging cases involving women who require a Cesarean delivery for medical reasons that may pose a risk to you or your baby during delivery. We have decades of experience working with high-risk pregnancies and performing routine and complex C-sections. Our team is equipped to handle any childbirth situation.
  • In-house neonatologists. We work closely with a team of neonatologists who are ready at a moment’s notice to manage any complications with critically ill or premature newborns. We have several nurseries, including a Level IV NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), a transitional “step-down” nursery which helps infants transition from the NICU to home, and special infant care nursery, which provides follow-up care for infants who need special medical services after birth.

Your Postpartum Recovery

24-hour rooming in. We give you the support you need to start bonding with your baby right away, and keep your baby with you at all times. Our labor and delivery suite includes 20 Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum (LDRP) rooms so you can stay in one place from the moment you arrive on our floor.  These rooms include whirlpool tubes, TV/DVDs and daybeds to make you and your loved one as comfortable as possible during your labor and postpartum period. Our unit also has 16 mother/baby rooms with private showers, recliners and TV/DVDs.

Recognized breastfeeding-friendly center. Our lactation consultants give you the support you need to begin breastfeeding within one hour of your newborn's birth, and continue after you leave the hospital.  Their efforts to ensure your breastfeeding success has earned us recognition as a four-star NC Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Center.

Postpartum support. Our clinical social workers specialize in postpartum depression, and are available to help you and your family locate community resources, and adapt to the many changes that accompany the arrival of a newborn.

Strict infant security system. We enforce strict infant security measures to protect your baby from unlikely harmful events including abduction.

Guided Tours

Sign up to take a guided tour of our unit as you prepare for your baby's delivery.

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