Maternity Services

St. Mary’s Maternity Services provides a unique experience for parents, newborns and families throughout the entire labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum process. Expectant mothers who deliver at St. Mary’s have a private room where the baby can stay 24 hours a day. St. Mary's Maternity Services has received prestigious international recognition as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility from Baby-Friendly USA.

Nurses and staff in the maternity and neonatal unit at St. Mary’s want to make the childbirth experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible for new parents. Our nurses provide support and direction on how to feed, diaper, bathe and care for your new baby, enabling you to become comfortable in these areas before going home. They will care for you during recovery and answer any questions you may have.

Visiting hours

St. Mary's maternity unit is designed with the entire family in mind. Fathers may stay and assist in the baby’s care 24 hours a day. We encourage new parents to spend quality time with their new baby, family members and visitors.

During labor, visitors may be limited so we can provide safe care to mother and baby. Brothers and sisters are invited to visit the new baby immediately after delivery. We encourage the parents to designate and adult, other than the father, to stay with the siblings in the waiting area prior to the birth of the baby. After the birth, brothers and sisters are allowed to visit any time. Because we want to ensure that your newborn is not exposed to unnecessary germs that could result in illness, siblings who have been ill recently should not visit.

Grandparents are very important and may visit any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. All other family members and friends are welcome to visit between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

If the baby is in the room, visitation may be limited. We recommend that everyone wash hands thoroughly before holding the baby.

If new parents need assistance during visiting hours or do not feel up to visitors, they should notify the nurse, who will assist accordingly.

Important things to remember

  • No smoking is allowed within the medical center. This policy is especially important for your newborn as second-hand smoke can cause severe respiratory problems.
  • Never leave your baby unattended. Should you need to leave your baby for a few minutes, please call your nurse or a member of the nursery staff. If you need to go to the bathroom, you should place your baby in the bassinet and push it to the bathroom door. This is important to ensure the safety of your baby.
  • Do not give your baby to a stranger. The only staff person who should return your newborn to the nursery is a member of the obstetrical staff. You will be introduced to staff nurses participating in your care. All nurses on the obstetrical unit have two photo identification badges.
  • Never carry your baby down the hallway in your arms. Babies must travel to and from the nursery in their beds.
  • Always wear slippers or shoes for your protection and comfort when walking to other areas of the unit.
  • Educational programs discussing infant-care skills are offered on closed circuit TV Channel 11. The nursing staff will also provide individualized education to help you feel confident in caring for your newborn.
  • You may receive a telephone survey after you leave the medical center, and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Celebration dinner

After delivery, the new parents will receive a menu for a celebration dinner, which usually takes place the evening after delivery.

Baby pictures and footprints

Newborn portraits may be taken during your hospital stay. For your convenience, pictures may be ordered online. A staff member will provide you with details. You are welcome to select a special outfit for your newborn's first photograph. Please give the outfit to the nursery staff when you are ready to have pictures taken.

Footprints will be made in the nursery at your request. We recommend that you bring your baby book to the hospital. If you do not have one, the nursery has plain white cards available for footprints.

Car seats

State law requires that all infants and toddlers be restrained in a federally-approved car seat when traveling. You must have an approved car seat at the time of your discharge, and your baby must be placed in the car seat correctly when leaving the hospital.

Cuddle Care

The Cuddle Care program at St. Mary’s Maternity Services encourages new mothers and fathers to bond with their new baby by holding the child skin-to-skin. Immediately after delivery, the baby will be dried off and placed on the mother’s chest. This is an important way for the baby to transition from the womb to the outside world.

Cuddle Care has many benefits for the baby, including:

  • An easier transition to the outside world
  • Immediate warmth provided by the mother’s body
  • Less crying and more sleeping
  • Important antibodies received from the mother’s skin
  • Breastfeeding comes more easily
  • A greater breast milk supply
  • Hearing the mother’s voice and heartbeat

The maternity unit observes Cuddle Care quiet time for new mothers and fathers each day from 1-2 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. All visitors except one designated support person will be asked to leave the unit so the family may rest and have quality time together.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only breast milk should be offered for about the first six months of life, and breastfeeding should be continued after baby foods are started and for at least one year after.

Benefits of breastfeeding for infants include:

  • The first milk (colostrum) helps the baby’s digestive system function better
  • Antibodies in breast milk help the baby fight off infections
  • Breastfed babies have a lower incidence of asthma, allergies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Nutrients in breast milk are better for babies than infant formula
  • Breast milk improves the baby’s brain development
  • Breastfed babies have less gas, colic and constipation and a reduced risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease, including Type I diabetes

Safe sleep for babies

SAFE SLEEP IS SIMPLE. The only place a baby should sleep is in a crib or bassinet. Babies who sleep in an adult bed are 40 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation. Follow these steps to make sure your baby is sleeping safely:

  • Baby always sleeps alone on his or her back in a crib or bassinet
  • Baby sleeps in a smoke-free room
  • Baby has on only a diaper, sleeper and light blanket
  • Crib is clear of toys, heavy or loose blankets, bumper pads and pillows
  • Baby’s mattress is firm and fits close to the sides
  • Crib is in good shape and meets Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines

Infant Safe Sleep

St. Mary’s Maternity Services is proud to partner with Our Babies: Safe and Sound to educate parents of the importance of infant safe sleep. Our Babies: Safe and Sound is a project of TEAM for West Virginia Children that provides parents and other caregivers of infants under the age of one, as well as expectant parents and professionals, with information and tips on ways to keep babies safe while sleeping, and how to stay calm when babies cry. The overall goal of the Our Babies: Safe and Sound campaign is to help prevent West Virginia infants from injury and death. For more information, visit