A healthy, loving start for you and your baby.

Every mom wants and deserves a birthing experience that’s as safe and comfortable as possible. At Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital, we are committed to making sure you have a positive and joyful experience. We want to make sure you have all the information and support you need to feel confident and secure before, during and after giving birth.

We offer:

  • Doctors specializing in every aspect of mother-baby care, as well as experienced nurses and support staff dedicated to caring for our moms and newborns.
  • A level III newborn intensive care unit (NICU) for babies who need advanced care.
  • Surgical suites reserved for women’s services and laboring mothers, if needed.
  • Prenatal classes for expectant moms and their support partners.

To schedule a tour of our Nursery and Labor and Delivery areas, please call, (318) 769-7073.


Labor is a three-stage process leading up to birth. The first stage begins when a pregnant woman's uterus contracts and her cervix dilates. The uterine contractions that occur with labor are caused by the hormones oxytocin and prostaglandin. During the second stage of labor, the baby is pushed through the vagina. The third stage of labor is the delivery of the placenta and fetal membranes, which happens just a few minutes after the baby is born. The length and experience of labor varies considerably among women.

Your doctor uses certain guidelines to determine if your labor is progressing normally. Occasionally, labor does not progress normally, and medical assistance or a cesarean section may be needed. If labor begins before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered preterm. If you have any symptoms of labor before the 37th week, you should call your doctor immediately.

If you think you may be in labor, please go immediately to Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital Labor & Delivery to receive immediate medical care. Signs of pre-term labor may include:

  • Contractions (a tightening sensation in the abdomen similar to menstrual cramping)
  • Low, dull backache
  • A sensation of pelvic pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • Watery vaginal discharge
  • An increase in vaginal discharge

Located conveniently on the first floor of Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the Labor & Delivery Unit, our L&D Antenatal Clinic provides non-stress tests (NSTs) and various antenatal monitoring for such conditions as high blood pressure, diabetes and high risk pregnancies.

Our clinic staff also provides amniocentesis in conjunction with our perinatologists. This clinic is staffed by an experienced L&D nurse who provides on-going monitoring and patient education throughout your pregnancy.

Moms know best. That’s the idea behind the “Mom’s Choice” program, which lets new moms choose to keep their babies in the room with them throughout the hospital stay – or, lets them get a bit of well-deserved rest by taking advantage of the hospital’s full-service newborn nursery.

Moms who choose to keep their babies with them will have the benefit of regular visits from a dedicated nursery nurse who is specifically trained to take care of mom and baby. Everything, including weighing, measuring, medications and visits from the baby’s pediatrician will take place at mom’s bedside. Expectant mothers will be asked during the admission process whether they want to keep their baby in the room with them, or use the newborn nursery – however, they can change their mind at any time during their stay.