Birth Center

Best of Everything for This Special Time

For families like the Spero Family (pictured right), who delivered their six children at Anna Jaques, the Birth Center provides trusted experience and personalized care, all close to home.

From labor to delivery to your postpartum stay, you’ll be in a private room. Our physicians and nurses will assist you throughout labor and delivery, and we have an anesthesiologist in the hospital around-the-clock to provide pain relief. Our exceptional team will make sure your delivery and postpartum stay is as smooth as possible.

Compassionate, Comprehensive Care

Women’s Health Care, affiliated with Anna Jaques Hospital, provides comprehensive, quality obstetrical and gynecological care with the warmth, responsiveness and accessibility of a community-based practice. Since opening its doors 30 years ago, it has become one of the largest OB/GYN practices in the area. Its team of board-certified physicians, certified nurse midwives, and certified nurse practitioners brings decades of experience in a wide range of clinical backgrounds and specialties, ensuring care is customized to a woman’s individual needs. Women’s Health Care has offices in Newburyport and Haverhill.

Visit the Women’s Health Care website for more information or call 978-556-0100.

Newly Renovated Patient Rooms

AJH recently invested $1.1 million to update all Birth Center Patient Rooms to bring the unit to the highest standards to match the outstanding quality of care. All patient rooms have been upgraded with new technology, modern décor and furniture.

High-Risk Obstetrical Care

Pregnancies may be high-risk for various factors, including mother’s age, hypertension, diabetes, multiples and history fertility assistance. Women who need advanced care for high-risk pregnancies no longer need to travel to Boston. Through Anna Jaques Hospital's clinical affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist from BIDMC comes to Anna Jaques three times each month to provide high risk ultrasound to the patients at Women’s Health Care and work side by side with our own obstetricians to provide the highest level of care for patients who need it. Access to this advanced, specialized medicine reduces stress on parents because they no longer need to travel out of the area for specialty care.

More Choices for Your Once-in-a-Lifetime Birth Experience

Anna Jaques offers more choices and options for your special delivery. With a variety of providers (physicians and midwives) and supports, our family-centered focus ensures that you can give birth in a warm, nurturing environment surrounded by your family. Some options include:

Water Therapy

The Birth Center also has a special room dedicated to water therapy. With a Jacuzzi tub, soothing lighting and calming environment, it allows the mother to become immersed in a tub of warm water during labor. (Note: the baby is not born in the tub.) Research shows that this birthing method can decrease labor pain, encourage dilation and reduce tearing of the perineum during birth. A registered nurse attends to the mother and monitors the baby’s wellbeing by listening to the heartbeat at regular intervals. The mother can get in and out of the tub throughout labor, so that she is able to use other pain relief modalities.

"Family Friendly" or "Natural" Cesarean (C-Section)

Our Birth Center has a dedicated operating room on the same floor, with expert staff on duty should a c-section be needed. We also have an anesthesiologist in-house and on duty 24 hours a day. Anna Jaques believes in a growing movement that attempts to make the cesarean delivery a more natural, or family-centered, event. Modifications of the standard technique include:

  • Early skin-to-skin contact in the operating room (with either mom or dad) 
  • Placement of ECG leads on the back, to allow a free chest for early maternal skin-to-skin contact
  • A drape with a "window" available for parents who would like to watch the birth of their baby
  • Baby may breast feed during surgery if both mother and baby are ready 

Benefits of this approach include a more family-centered experience for the mother and partner, improved temperature regulation for the baby, better bonding, early feeding, and overall greater satisfaction with the birthing experience.

I recently gave birth to a baby girl in May, and had an incredible experience at the Birth Center. The midwives, nurses, and pediatricians we saw were all wonderful and I couldn’t have asked for a more comfortable stay.”

Pain Control

An alternative to pain management: The Birth Center offers nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) as an option for pain management during labor and delivery. This method, which is a traditional way to manage pain, offers mothers a fast-acting and safe alternative that does not affect the normal progression of labor. Nitrous oxide offers many benefits to mothers. It is self-administered so not only can a woman decide how much to use, she can also decide if she wants to stop using it and try another method of pain relief instead. The option can easily be discontinued and its effects disappear within five minutes after cessation.

Nitrous oxide is a desirable option for women who:

  • Struggle with anxiety
  • Have a fear of needles or prefer to avoid strong pain medications
  • Arrive to the hospital too late to receive an epidural  

Nitrous oxide does not affect infant alertness during the early bonding period between a mother and her newborn. It also does not affect breastfeeding.

We have an anesthesiologist on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to administer pain medications such as epidurals.

VBACs (Vaginal birth after Cesarean)

Our obstetrical team is one of few in the area to offer vaginal birth after Cesarean. In fact, our success rate last year was 77%. Vaginal births are available to patients who have previously given birth via Cesarean birth, with consultation and approval from your physician.

Outside Assistance

You have the option of bringing outside support for the delivery if desired. Doulas, specially trained coaches for labor and childbirth, are welcome in the hospital. If the patient desires an acupuncturist to assist in the labor or delivery, we will work with you to ensure hospital requirements are met beforehand.

Birthing Balls

This is a large ball that is provided by the hospital that is soft and comfortable to sit on, or across, to relieve pressure.

After Delivery

Following delivery, your family will enjoy the privacy of your own room. Each room includes a sleeper chair or sofa, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and a refrigerator. Room service, a kitchenette stocked with food, and take-out menus to area restaurants are all available to patients and families during your stay.


Over the last decade, in an effort to provide best care for mothers, babies and families, care after delivery at many Massachusetts hospitals has evolved to support universal “rooming-in” for healthy mothers and babies. There are many major benefits of rooming-in, including improved communication and bonding, fostering a sense of security for the newborn, and more effectively establishing breast feeding. More information can be found in this Rooming-in Information Sheet.

We recognize, however that each patient and family has specific needs and expectations. We do have a nursery available 24 hours a day. If a medical, emotional or other reason arises and the best decision for the family is to have the newborn be cared for in a nursery, then we are able to accommodate that situation. We are committed to delivering individualized care to families based on their circumstances and desires to ensure that each family has a positive, nurturing and satisfying experience.

Family Rest Time

Family Rest Time is designated on the Birth Center between 2 – 4 p.m. daily to encourage the family to rest or nap. We encourage no visitors during this time but it is up to you whether you allow visitors at this time.

Lactation Consultation

We are fortunate to have International board certified lactation consultants on staff. They have a wide breadth of knowledge that guides women in breastfeeding. A lactation consultant will visit you in the hospital to assist you as you begin to breastfeed and is available to you for further consultation during your stay.

If you are experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding at home, a personal appointment can be made with the lactation consultant. Most insurance covers this appointment. If you have any questions about breastfeeding, you are welcome to leave these on the Lactation Line. If they are urgent and concern your baby’s well being, we encourage you to call your pediatrician. Appointments can be made Monday through Friday by calling the Birth Center at 978-463-1060 or the Lactation Line at 978-463-1079.

Learn more about Lactation Services at AJH.

Patient Satisfaction

The Department of Public Health’s most current data for c-section rates in the state of Massachusetts shows that Anna Jaques Hospital’s primary (or first time) c-section rate is 26%, which compares favorably to many hospitals in Massachusetts whose rates are in the 30% range.

Anna Jaques has also decreased the C-section infection rate to below 2%, which is well below the national average.

Additional Resources


Women's Health Care - Newburyport

255 Low Street
Suite 101
Newburyport, MA


Women's Health Care - Haverhill

600 Primrose Street Haverhill Medical Offices of Anna Jaques Hospital
Haverhill, MA