Whether you’re planning a family in the near future or have already begun the journey toward parenthood, choosing the right health care provider and the right hospital has never been more important. That’s because when it comes to your well-being and the health of your new baby, you want to feel confident that you and your newborn are receiving the finest medical care delivered by a highly competent staff.
For more than 100 years, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has been providing maternity care and welcoming newborns in a nurturing and comfortable environment. Providing up-to-date medical care, our experienced and compassionate staff is committed to making your delivery a positive and memorable experience. It is our privilege to care for you and your new baby, and to share this special moment in your life.
Personalized Nursing Care
We know that the birth of your baby is a personal experience, and we respect and support your choices during labor and delivery. During your labor, one of our specially trained nurses will provide the one-on-one support and assistance you need to have the labor and delivery that you want. From natural childbirth to advanced services, at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital you will find numerous options for the care you receive.
Family-Centered Maternity Care
Family-centered maternity care encourages family unity by focusing on the physical, social and emotional needs of you and your family. The goal of our Maternal-Newborn Services is to concentrate on your well-being and comfort, while allowing the flexibility that encourages the involvement of your birth partner and extended family members.
Early prenatal care is vital for you and your baby's health and wellness. There are many obstetrical providers who can care for you before, during and after your pregnancy. The range of providers includes obstetricians and family medicine physicians. The advantage to selecting a health care provider and hospital in your community means you won’t have to travel far when labor begins.
To find a physician in your area, call Hallmark Health's 24/7 Physician Referral Line at 800-540-9191.
Specialized Care Available Close to Home
Our special relationship with Tufts Medical Center allows babies requiring specialized care to remain close to home in your own community hospital. Access to specialists is available in a wide range of areas, including pediatric cardiology, neurology, surgery, and genetics testing and counseling. This added peace of mind is just one more reason for you and your family to choose Melrose-Wakefield Hospital for all your birthing and health care needs.
Prenatal & Community Education
Special Care Nursery
Breastfeeding Support Center
Main Hospital Number
Physician Referral Line
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Baby-Friendly birthing facilities worldwide take special steps to create an environment for parents and infants that ensure the best start for breastfeeding.
What does this mean for you?
- You and your baby will receive the best care and support as you begin your new life together.
- You and your baby will be cared for together in your room (the rooming-in model of care delivery) and will not be routinely separated.
- Nurses with specialized training and lactation consultants will be available to help you with breastfeeding.
For further information about Baby-Friendly, call the Breastfeeding Support Center at 781-979-6455.
Care that makes you feel right at home
The moment you enter Melrose-Wakefield Hospital's Maternal-Newborn Service, you'll feel the welcome of a warm environment that's perfect for your child-birthing experience. That's because our service was designed to make your labor and delivery as comfortable as possible.
Private labor, delivery and recovery rooms
Our private labor/delivery/recovery rooms are designed to blend homelike, comfortable surroundings with the most up-to-date technology and equipment.
These spacious birthing suites offer the privacy and warmth of a homelike setting so you and your family can experience the miracle of birth together. While our birthing rooms offer the intimacy of home, you can be secure in the fact that our staff of physicians and nurses has advanced technology at their fingertips.
During your stay at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, a member of Hallmark Health System, our expert team of physicians, nurses, lactation consultants, social workers and others will work closely with you and your family to ensure that you are all off to the best possible start. From labor and delivery, to the day of discharge and beyond, you can count on the people and resources at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. They will care for your medical and emotional needs, help you develop the skills necessary to care for your newborn, and provide information about a variety of resources that will be helpful in your journey as a parent.
When you arrive to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, please go directly to the Labor and Delivery Unit on the second floor. This is a restricted area. To enter, please ring the bell at the entrance for assistance.
Your postpartum stay
Once you have rested after the birth, you, your partner and your baby will be moved to a fresh, quiet room. These homelike rooms are pleasantly decorated in soothing colors, with private bathrooms. It is beneficial to have a support person with you throughout your hospital stay so together you can learn to care for your newborn.
Baby’s first photos
During your stay, a photo hostess will stop by your room to discuss having your baby photographed as a keepsake. She will also discuss the new Web posting service, a secure Website that allows your baby’s photo to be posted on a special site for friends and family to view.
Nutritious meals play an important role in your recovery. As an added benefit, we provide room service to all of our maternity patients. Please order meals for you and your partner by dialing for room service. Your nurse will provide a room service menu to you. Meals may be ordered between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. After this time (between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.), light meals and refreshments are available.
Discharge time from the hospital is 10 a.m. Your obstetric provider and your newborn’s pediatric care provider will see you before you go home.
Car seat information
You must have a car seat upon discharge from the hospital. By Massachusetts state law, any infant younger than one year of age and less than 20 pounds in weight must ride in a rear-facing seat in the back seat of a car. The seat should recline at a 45-degree angle to support the child’s head and neck. Purchase a car seat before your child is born and test it in your car to ensure compatibility.
Helping you prepare to care for your new baby
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s prenatal and family education classes help you and your family prepare for your new baby. We offer everything from early pregnancy classes to infant care classes. After your baby is born, you may continue to rely on us to help you care for your newborn. Postnatal classes include infant and pediatric CPR training.
Parents and caretakers of children from birth through the age of three can also take advantage of Hallmark Health’s North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network, a community-based program that offers support, resources and connections to other families in the community. The network offers programs that include playgroups, parent education workshops, a drop-in playroom and a parent support group. The network is free for residents of Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield.
Nothing can replace the warmth and personal connection you and your partner would feel in an in-person classroom environment. However, many couples find it hard to fit an entire day, or a series of classes, into their schedules. This online program allows you to learn at your own pace and convenience.
Once you have registered for the program and received your personal code, click here to view the online childbirth education program.
For more information, check out our section on prenatal and community health education.
Prenatal and Community Health Education
Prenatal and Community Health Education classes are conducted by clinical staff, certified childbirth, CPR and First Aid instructors and other credentialed educators on a variety of topics aimed at promoting community safety, health and wellness.
Our prenatal education courses include childbirth education, on-line childbirth education, infant care I and II, breastfeeding, the new dad difference and the art of becoming a new mom.
Our safety education courses focus on Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid instruction courses for community residents. Other courses, such as babysitting basics, promote wellness and safety awareness.
Located within the Community Services Department of Hallmark Health, Community Health Education programs are an integral component to a three-pronged service line which also includes: the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network and Women, Infants and Children (WIC). These programs have been part of the core services available to families for the past 17 years at Hallmark Health and provide a perfect compliment to Hallmark Health System's comprehensive system of care.
Maternity Tour Schedule
All tours meet in the lobby of Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, 585 Lebanon Street, Melrose
Tours are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. If you have any questions, please call the OB Tour Line at 781-979-3330.
Tours are offered by Maternal-Newborn Services and the Community Health Education.
For Sunday tour dates and information, please call 781-338-7561.
Please note: no registration is required.
Reducing pain for childbirth is a team-approach at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. From our obstetricians, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, family practitioners, nurses and childbirth educators, you can expect quality care, flexible routines and a desire to help you deliver your baby with as much comfort as possible.
In order for families to make the best possible decisions for themselves regarding pain control, it is necessary to be as educated as possible about all options. Uncontrolled pain sometimes makes labor difficult and may produce unnecessary stress on the baby. Your professional team of doctors and nurses can provide you with many options for reducing pain from conditioned breathing to epidural anesthesia.
Since the 1950’s in this country, women and their labor partners have been using a variety of non-medical interventions to decrease pain in labor. Through our childbirth education classes you will be taught breathing exercises, relaxation skills, visualization, positions and comfort measures for labor and birth. These techniques have been proven to help reduce pain and can be used with or without medications and anesthesia.
Narcotic Pain Medication
These medications are a common form of pain relief during labor. They are most commonly given during the active phase of labor (4-plus cm. dilation) and can be administered by shot or IV. These drugs dull the pain, rather than eliminate it, and have few side effects. They can be used in conjunction with conditioned breathing, relaxation techniques, and other medication and anesthesia.
This technique is extremely safe and very effective, having improved greatly over the past 15 years. Today, fewer anesthetics are used than in the past so that while the mother’s pain is diminished, she can still feel contractions and push in a coordinated fashion. She will receive the epidural once labor is established and will continue to feel its effect until the baby is born.
With an epidural, a local anesthetic is delivered into the epidural space in the lower back via a tiny catheter attached to a continuous infusion pump. An epidural has several significant advantages. First, the medications stay within the epidural space, blocking pain signals to the brain without entering the blood stream. Virtually miniscule amounts of the medication get to the fetus, so the patient has pain relief with minimal medication exposure to the baby.
The use of intravenous fluids along with the epidural technique also improves the mother’s blood pressure, ensuring the baby continues to get a strong supply of blood. By eliminating the mother’s pain, the body’s physiological response to stress, which constricts blood flow, is removed.
Should something untoward happen, the anesthesiology team has the ability to rapidly raise the level of anesthetic to do an emergency Cesarean section within a few minutes without having to put the mother to sleep using general anesthetic.
The relative risks are few, including: a drop in blood pressure (countered by giving I.V. fluids), nausea and, as with any invasive procedure, infections which are all managed through precautions and treatments, making the risks very minor.
Epidural anesthesia will continue throughout the pushing stage of labor with the catheter infusion pump, allowing pain relief and muscle coordination. Positions, comfort measures and conditioned breathing can be used to enhance pain relief.
Local perineal or pudendal is given at the time of delivery to numb in and around the vaginal area for the delivery of the baby. Your doctor will administer this anesthesia by a shot into the perineum. The medication is a Novocain-like drug that will provide relief of pain as the baby’s head emerges and will provide additional relief if any suturing of the perineal tissues is required after birth.
The situation often determines the choice of pain control options. Spinals, unfortunately, have an outdated reputation for causing spinal headaches, which is no longer the case. In the past, one in five women had spinal headaches; now it is one in three hundred. Spinals differ from epidurals in the location that the medications are injected.
In spinal anesthesia, medication is injected into the spinal space. With the spinal, the mother is awake, but has numbness below the chest level. Sodium citrate (antacid) will be given to reduce gastric upset.
This anesthesia is used in emergency situations for C-deliveries where other anesthesia options are not possible. It is done very rarely (less than 2 percent of deliveries). During a Cesarean delivery using general anesthesia, the mother is asleep and the child is delivered quickly. Partners must wait for mom and baby outside of the operating area in labor and delivery.
Please remember that every pregnant woman is unique and should discuss all questions and concerns with her healthcare practitioner. Information about medical options is available in your childbirth classes.
To register for childbirth classes call 781-338-7561.
To speak with an anesthesiologist, call 781-979-3706.
During labor it might be necessary for your healthcare professional to prescribe other medications that might include antibiotics, (for control or prevention of infection), anti-nausea medications (to offset this side effect of labor), labor enhancing chemicals such as Pitocin ( a synthetic hormone to increase the effect of labor contractions)or prostaglandin gels (to help prepare the cervix for labor). These will be discussed and explained during your childbirth classes and you should talk to your practitioner about them.
For mothers who deliver their baby by caesarean section, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital's Maternal-Newborn Services offer family-centered caesarean births.
Patient and physician feedback has shown that mothers who give birth via caesarean section, or C-section, have a very different experience than women who have natural births. Family-centered caesarean births include the use of clear surgical drapes that allow mothers to see their baby being born and to see and better communicate with their physician, facilitation of early skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby and delaying routine procedures until after first breastfeeding.
One of our families offered to share their experience as they took part in a family-centered C-section birth of their fourth child. We worked closely with Wakefield Community Access Television to document this option which brings the full birthing experience closer to families who need to have a C-section. This compelling and informative video can be viewed below.
You may also find this article, "Enhancing the birthing experience for local moms" to be of interest.
Level II Special Care Nursery
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s Level II Special Care Nursery provides a higher level of care and scope of services than those provided in the newborn nursery. Affiliated with Tufts Medical Center, our Special Care Nursery is staffed 24 hours a day by neonatologists and specially trained neonatal registered nurses, focused on providing technologically advanced medical care.
Our Level II Special Care Nursery’s comprehensive medical care team also includes a lactation consultant, registered dietitian, respiratory therapist, physical therapist and social worker. Our team is committed to providing newborns and their parents the highest quality of care and services possible, in a compassionate and supportive environment.
Special Care Nursery
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s Special Care Nursery provides comprehensive nursing care and medical treatment for newborns requiring a higher level of care, scope of services and nurse-infant ratio than that available in the newborn nursery.
We are committed to providing these newborns, their parents and their families with the highest quality of care and services possible in a compassionate and supportive environment.
The Special Care Nursery is staffed 24 hours a day by neonatologists and specially trained neonatal registered nurses focused on providing the most technologically advanced care and support that is both "high tech" and "high touch."
Infants treated here also benefit from our affiliation with Tufts Medical Center. This partnership provides access to specialists in a wide range of areas including pediatric cardiologists, neurologists, surgeons and geneticists.
Our nursery cares for babies who are born premature or at a low birth weight, are twins or triplets, or have medical problems at birth. Our babies are either born here at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, another community hospital, or academic medical center in Boston. Babies can be readmitted to the Special Care Nursery any time within the first month of life.
Many of our babies begin their life in a Level III neonatal intensive care unit. As these babies grow and develop, they are transferred to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital's Special Care Nursery. Here, they can be closer to home making it easier for parents and families to visit and participate in the infant’s care.
We are committed to family-centered care and are eager to help you prepare for that special day when you will take your new son or daughter home.
- Comprehensive medical and clinical team including a neonatologist, pediatrician, neonatal nurse, lactation consultant, physical therapist, social worker and audiologist.
- Affiliation with the Tufts Medical Center
- Access to respiratory therapists, nutritionists, geneticists and pediatric cardiologists
- Vision and hearing screenings
- State-of-the-art cardiac and other health monitoring equipment
- Infant security system
Home care services available after discharge through Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, if needed.
Innovations: Maternal-Fetal Medicine helps high-risk pregnancies
Maternal-Fetal Medicine is a specialty of obstetrics that focuses on high-risk pregnancies stemming from maternal medical problems or fetal issues. Physicians who practice maternal-fetal medicine complete a general OB/GYN residency, followed by a three-year fellowship.
Risk management and monitoring
Our unique relationship with Tufts Medical Center enables our moms with high-risk pregnancies to see a perinatologist at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and to have their care co-managed by both Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Tufts Medical Center physicians, if needed. Together, the physicians work to provide the best care for both mother and baby, alleviating the need to travel to Boston for specialized prenatal care. Specialized care may be needed if you expect a multiple birth or if you develop complications with your pregnancy. Extra monitoring is needed if problems are detected with the developing fetus.
Easing concerns with genetic counseling and testing
Genetic counselors at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital arrange appointments for blood tests, physician exams and amniocentesis. Our counselors then help interpret medical information about the genetic condition(s) of concern in your family. They continue to provide information and support after test results have been received.
If you or your partner has unanswered questions about diseases or traits in your families, you may benefit from our genetic counseling and testing service. You might be especially interested in this service if you are 35 years of age or older, have had a child with a birth defect, and if you or your partner have a family history of genetic problems, birth defects or mental retardation.
New England Newborn Screening Program
It is a requirement under Massachusetts law that all newborns are screened for ten treatable diseases. The chance your baby will have one of these disorders is very small. Testing all babies is important because most appear healthy at birth, even those who have diseases that can be detected by newborn screening.
Newborn screening entails collecting a few small drops of blood when the newborn is about two days old and sending the specimen to an outside screening lab. This provides an early opportunity to detect certain disorders before symptoms appear. In the rare cases when a disorder is found, early diagnosis and treatment can usually prevent associated problems. For the small number of babies who do have one of these diseases, newborn screening can make a lifetime of difference. If the screening shows that your infant has signs of one of the disorders, your pediatrician will contact you for follow-up.
Hallmark Health Newborn Hearing Screening Program
To identify hearing impairment in babies as early as possible, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital conducts a hearing screening for every baby prior to discharge. The test is done while your baby is asleep, takes about 15 minutes and is painless. The results of the screening are provided to you. If there needs to be a follow-up hearing screen, you will be provided information on how to schedule an appointment. Please consult your physician if you have questions regarding hearing loss.
Safety and Security
Every parent wants to know that their baby is safe and secure in any setting. At Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, we have put many measures into place to ensure your infant’s safety during your hospital stay.
For safety reasons, keep your baby within sight while in your room and the bassinet next to your bed. Please do not carry your baby in your arms when walking in the hallway, use the bassinet.
- Place your baby in his/her bassinet when you become drowsy, plan on sleeping, or when using the bathroom. Please call the nurse if you need help.
- Do not leave your baby alone or unsupervised, even in your room. Your infant should be in his/her bassinet when not being held, fed or changed. When using the bathroom, close the door to your room, pull the bassinet over to the bathroom door, and leave the bathroom door open.
- Never leave the baby alone on your bed. Newborns sometimes move around more than expected and can fall off of the bed.
- Newborns do have some acquired immunity from infections. However, care must still be exercised. Please ask friends and family not to visit if they have a cold, diarrhea, a sore that has a discharge, or any contagious disease such as chicken pox or measles. Prior to contact with any newborn, visitors must wash hands thoroughly.
Security is of the utmost importance at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. All authorized hospital personnel will be wearing a pink photo identification badge where it can easily be seen. All maternity care providers have a large pink bar on their badge. Do not allow anyone who does not have this specially colored photo I.D. to take your baby. If you have any questions, please call for the nurse.
How the identification system works
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital uses a four-bracelet system to identify your infant. At the time of delivery, one bracelet is placed on each of your infant’s ankles. Another bracelet is placed on the mother’s wrist, and one is placed on the wrist of the father/support person designated by the mother.
Your infant’s identification bracelets are matched to the mother’s and father’s/support person’s when your infant is brought to your room and/or when you get your infant from the nursery. Bracelets are matched by the staff’s visual inspection and comparison of the name and numbers on each bracelet. You and the father/support person must wear the bracelet during the entire hospital stay.
Your infant will also have a bracelet with a security tag attached. A special signal transmits the exact location of the tag to a central monitor. For infant security and safety purposes, all infants are photographed within 24 hours of birth. Negatives are kept on file for 18 months. There is no financial obligation for this security measure.
Birth Certificate Information
In order to facilitate and expedite the paperwork involved in the completion of your baby’s birth certificate, we are enclosing the "Parent Worksheet for Birth Certificates."
This form must be completed and on file at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital before you arrive at the hospital to deliver your baby.
For your convenience, you may download a copy of the two items that must be completed and returned before you arrive at the hospital.
1. Parent worksheet for Birth Certificates- please complete and return.
2. Health Care Proxy - please read carefully and return completed form.
Please return both forms to:
Pre-admitting, Attn: Maternal-Newborn Services
585 Lebanon Street
Melrose, MA 02176
If you need assistance or have questions, please do not hesitate to call 781-979-3380, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital now offers parents the opportunity to show friends and family a photo of their new baby.
Only parents who choose to participate will have their baby's photo viewable in the password-protected web nursery. By giving your friends and family the passwords, only they will have the ability to view your baby's newborn photo.
Labor and Delivery Visitors
While you are in labor, you may have visitors. It is important that visitors follow the guidelines below:
- Father/support person is welcome anytime.
- In addition to the father/support person, two other adults may visit in the labor room. Other visitors may alternate as long as no more than two are in the room at the same time.
The First Hour
The first hours after birth are a perfect time to start developing a close family relationship. We encourage you and the father/support person to hold your newborn skin-to-skin as soon as possible and begin breastfeeding within the first hour of birth. The more time you and your baby spend together here, the better you will know each other when you get home.
Visiting Hours After Delivery
The maternity staff supports your choices regarding visitors. Many women find themselves torn between wanting to entertain visitors and needing to get rest or concentrate on feeding and learning to care for their new baby. We encourage you to prioritize your wishes and needs during this time and to share them with the staff as well as your family and friends.
The following are the visiting hours for family members and friends. NOTE: Please be sure that all visitors who come in contact with your baby wash their hands and that they are free from any contagious disease or infection.
The mother-baby staff supports your choices regarding visitation, many patients are torn between wanting to entertain visitors and wanting to rest or spend private time with the baby. We encourage you to prioritize your time in the hospital and share your thoughts with family and friends. The father or support person is encouraged to spend the night so you both can get to know the baby.
Siblings may not spend the night. Young siblings may not be left in the mother’s care while she is a patient.
Each day, between the hours of 1-3 p.m., you will have the chance to experience undisturbed rest with your baby. Visits from hospital personnel will be limited to those necessary to your care. Family and friends are encouraged to help us provide this valuable opportunity by not coming onto the unit during Serenity Time.
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Baby Café
Come join us at the first Baby Café in the United States. Located at Melrose Church of the Nazarene, 2 Short St. in Melrose, the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Baby Café is a free service available to all pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who are interested in the health and wellness benefits of breastfeeding.
In affiliation with the UK-based Baby Café Charitable Trust, the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Baby Café provides pregnant and breastfeeding mothers a friendly and comfortable environment to learn more about breastfeeding. In the Baby Café, mothers can relax, share tips and techniques, and socialize with other moms. One-on-one help from specially trained health professionals is available, including professional lactation support and WIC peer counselors. Babies can be also weighed and breastfeeding assessed at the Baby Café, providing additional support for parents.
No appointment is necessary to visit the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Baby Café. For more information about the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Baby Café or the Malden WIC Baby Cafe, please call 781-979-MILK (6455).
Baby Café Locations
The Church of the Nazarene
2 Short Street
Melrose, MA 02176
Wednesdays 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 10 a.m. -12 noon
239 Commercial Street
Malden, MA 02148
Tuesdays 5 - 7 p.m.
Everett WIC office
Everett City Hall, lower level
484 Broadway, Everett
Thursdays 5 - 7 p.m.
The Breastfeeding Support Center
Breastfeeding is the normal way for you to nourish your baby. Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has been a long-time supporter of breastfeeding mothers. To help make nursing successful, we offer expert lactation care, services, and supplies to support and encourage patients throughout their breastfeeding experience. Our program is provided by certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) - highly specialized health care providers - who offer individualized consultation to assess you and your baby's feeding style and assist with education and problem-solving.
While breastfeeding is natural and ideal for both mother and baby, sometimes circumstances arise where guidance and support are needed, or simply reassurance that breastfeeding is going well. We are available for telephone support or welcome you to schedule an appointment with us at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital by calling 781-979-MILK (6455). Contact us if you have questions or concerns about breastfeeding.