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Before Delivery

Birth plans

A birth plan is a simple one page statement outlining your preferences during the birth of your baby. If you desire to have a formalized birth plan, here are some things to know:

  • The appropriate time to share your desires is during your pregnancy. You can work with your doctor or midwife to develop a plan during your monthly appointments. 
  • While it is helpful to share you desires, there's no substitute for the medical expertise of your doctor or midwife.
  • Birth plans cannot anticipate all the possibilities that accompany the birth experience.
  • Remember to be flexible as you look toward your birth experience, and keep in mind that you and your doctor share a common goal - the health and safety of you and your baby.

Learn more about birth plans.

Choosing a Doula

A doula is trained to give non-medical assistance to women during labor, which can include emotional and physical support. If you are considering a doula to be a part of your 3-person labor support team, here are some things to remember:

  • The doula cannot perform medical tasks.
  • Decisions about your medical care will be made by you and your doctor or midwife.
  • Talk to your doctor or midwife about your decision to have a doula present during your birth. He/she may be able to give you names of doulas who have attended births at Virtua in the past.
  • Doulas typically charge for their services. Check with your insurance to see if doulas are covered under your plan.

Read this patient letter regarding doulas.

For more information, read Considerations When Choosing a Doula


When you are 5 to 7 months pregnant, you should pre-register with the hospital where you’ll deliver your baby.

Packing for the hospital

When preparing for your hospital stay, consider what you and your partner or coach will need before, during and after delivery. Also, consider what you’ll need for your baby.

Coming to labor and delivery:

  • Admission documentation Identification (such as driver’s license)
  • Insurance card
  • Claim form (if necessary)
  • Co-pay (if applicable)
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses and case and toiletries

Packing tip #1: Pack two bags - one for labor and delivery and one for after delivery. For your convenience, please leave after-labor items in your car until after you’ve been moved to the mother-baby unit.

Packing tip #2: What to leave at home - jewelry, large sums of money, credit cards and other valuables.

After delivery:

  • Bathrobe, nightgown, slippers and socks
  • Nursing bra, breast pads and maternity underwear
  • Going-home outfit

For your partner or coach:

  • Money for vending machines
  • Guest meals available in the cafeteria (credit cards accepted)
  • Basic toiletries
  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks and reading material
  • Camera/video recorder and battery back-up

For your baby:

  • Car seat
  • Going-home outfit
  • Receiving blanket


Before your baby arrives, you'll need to review your insurance coverage for labor and delivery.

Important note: Typically insurance companies require notification of birth within 24 hours after birth to enroll your new baby into your policy; it is critical that you consult your insurance carrier to ensure your baby’s coverage.

Virtua accepts most major insurance plans. To ensure Virtua accepts your insurance carrier, call 1-888-Virtua-3 (1-888-847-8823).

Watch these March of Dimes videos for more information:

Have questions? Get answers by emailing

    VirtuaBaby content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you’ve read on VirtuaBaby. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, call your  doctor or 911 immediately.

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