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Maternity Services Low Intervention Options (Natural Birth)

Low Intervention Options (Natural Birth)

At SSM Health St. Mary's – Madison, we want to best support you in your labor and birth  goals. We offer a variety of options during labor in an environment designed to meets your choices and the vision you have for your labor and birth.

Wireless Fetal Monitoring

For low-risk patients, a laboring mom is not always confined to the bed. When appropriate, mom can wear a wireless fetal monitor or an intermittent monitor so she can walk around, try standing positions or even labor in a special laboring tub, or the shower or jetted tub in her room. This option supports movement during labor, which can increase comfort and speed progress.

Pain Management

Expectant moms have a new choice for pain management when they deliver at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Madison – patient controlled nitrous oxide. St. Mary's Hospital is one of only a few other hospitals in Wisconsin providing this low intervention option.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous Oxide, or "laughing gas", is an inhaled gas that is used to relieve pain in labor and/or during postpartum procedures. It is an odorless, tasteless gas that enters and exits the body quickly during use.

Nitrous Oxide has been used for many years in dental procedures and is widely used throughout Europe during labor.


  • Helps you to relax and feel less tense during contractions
  • Works quickly
  • Does not slow down labor
  • You do not need to have an IV
  • You do not need to be attached to a baby monitor all of the time
  • There is no effect on the baby
  • Does not prevent patient from moving on to other options including epidural
  • May be used if you need a procedure after the baby is born
  • Does not negatively impact breast feeding after delivery

Spa-Like Rooms

Our quiet, spa-like rooms accommodate both mom and her partner, and include a queen bed and in-room baby bathing area. In-room tubs, massaging showers, birthing balls and guidance positioning of your body help to ease discomfort. We encourage parents to room-in with their baby 24/7 and provide breastfeeding support. You can even enjoy an enhanced room service menu with organic and locally sourced options.

Doula Support

Many expectant mothers at St. Mary's Hospital choose to work with a doula. According to DONA International, a Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

Doulas provide informational, physical and emotional support to mom and her family. We welcome this additional support in the birthing suite. Bring your own personal Doula or ask us about our doula partnerships.


SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital offers comforting options, including aromatherapy. We offer moms the option of lavender aromatherapy delivered via an inhalation patch. Many people appreciate not only the scent of lavender, but also use it in their personal healing rituals to treat insomnia, anxiety and even minor wounds.

Delayed umbilical cord clamping at delivery

SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital practices delayed umbilical cord clamping at delivery, a practice that is shown to reduce anemia in infants.

Mother and baby skin-to-skin

SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital promotes mother and baby skin-to-skin initiation within 5 minutes of birth and maintained for the first hour, including cesarean-section births.


  • Contributes to successful newborn transition to extra uterine life
  • Improves infant temperature regulation, blood sugar and promotes successful breastfeeding
  • Calms both mother and baby