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Before your delivery


We encourage you to pre-register before the seventh month of pregnancy. Pre-registration can be completed in person or online. 

To register in person, please visit our Hello Desk in the main lobby at French Hospital Medical Center, Monday – Friday 8 AM – 4 PM. Your identification and insurance cards will be required. No appointment is necessary. 

Register online here.

Select a pediatrician

Select and make contact with a pediatrician for your new baby. The pediatrician will see your baby before you leave the hospital.


Find a Doctor

Pack for the hospital

Before the big day, pack a bag with everything you think you'll need at the hospital so that you're ready to go as soon as your baby is ready to arrive.

Here’s a list of suggested items to include: 

For mom
  • Insurance card 
  • Identification card 
  • Birth plan 
  • Clothing for labor
  • Sleepwear, robe and slippers or socks
  • Clothes to wear home 
  • Lip balm 
  • Hair ties or headband
  • Toiletries
  • Pillow with colored pillowcase 
  • Personal items that may make you more comfortable or help you relax
  • Notepad or journal 
  • Baby book

For birth partner

  • Change of clothes
  • Sleepwear
  • Toiletries 
  • Camera and charger
  • Cell phone charger
  • Snacks and/or cash/card for vending machines 
  • Sleeping bag
  • Something to read or watch

For baby

  • Baby nail file 
  • Clothes to wear home and for photos
  • Baby blanket
  • Infant car seat properly and securely placed in the car 

During your stay

Your care

Here are some important points to remember during your hospital stay:

  • We ask that you and your loved ones wear a mask when a member of our staff is in your room. Employees are required to wear a mask. 
  • Please confirm the current visitation policy with your nurse, as it is subject to change. 
  • If you have questions about your care, please don’t hesitate to ask your nurse.

Your room

We want you to be comfortable during your stay:

  • Please use your call light when you need assistance or have a question.
  • Your nurse will show you how to adjust the lights and blinds in your room.
  • You can adjust the temperature in your room to 68° - 75°. Your nurse will show you how to make the room warmer or cooler.
  • Environmental services will clean your room daily. Notify your nurse if your room needs additional services.

Food services

Your nurse will go over meal selections. Choose the daily meal or order personal choices. Ask for extra vegetables, fruit, or food selections. Food times may vary. Ask your nurse if you need a snack in between meals.

You may bring your own food and store it in our Family Pantry as long as it is sealed by the manufacturer. Please label your food with your name, your date of birth, your room number, and the date the item was placed in the Family Pantry. Once an item has been opened, it must be consumed or stored elsewhere. It cannot be returned to the Family Pantry for storage.

Newborn screenings and care

Your nurse will talk with you about the newborn screenings and care that will be performed before your baby goes home. Please discuss any questions or concerns about these screenings with your pediatrician. 

Newborn screenings and care include: 

How:  Prophylactic eye ointment
Why: State required
When: Per parent preference
How:  Injection 
Why: Prevent Vitamin K deficiency, bleeding
When: Approximately two hours after birth
How: Injection
Why: To prevent Hepatitis B 
When: Per parent preference
Birth Certificate
How: Paperwork 
Why: Register birth of baby 
When: Any time before you go home 
Hearing Screen
How: Earphones 
Why: To identify hearing loss 
When: Approximately 4-24 hours after birth 
Newborn Cardiac Screen (CCHD/O2) 
How: Sensor wrapped around baby’s hand and foot 
Why: To measure oxygen heart rate and oxygen levels 
When: Approximately 24 hours after birth

Newborn Screen (PKU) 
How: Heel stick 
Why: To identify rare conditions
When: Approximately 12-48 hours after birth
Jaundice Screen (Hyperbilirubinemia/bili)
How: Skin scan or heel stick 
Why: Screen for buildup of bilirubin 
When: Approximately 24 hours after birth and six hours before discharge 
If you choose to have your baby circumcised, arrangements must be made with your pediatrician or obstetrician in advance.

Day of discharge

Before you leave the hospital you will be given a variety of educational materials to help you care for yourself and your baby.

For Mother 

On the day of discharge, your provider will come into your room and confirm your discharge order. The nurse will check your vital signs two hours before you are discharged and will review the educational materials with you to ensure you understand warning signs to watch for and know when to call your provider.


For Newborn


Your provider will confirm your newborn’s discharge order. The nurse will then remove the cord clamp, and complete the newborn screenings and care to ensure your newborn is safe to go home. The nurse will review the educational materials with you so that you know how to take your baby’s temperature and know what warning signs to look for and when to call your provider.

Frequently asked questions and important considerations

How do I pre-register for childbirth? 
We encourage you to pre-register before the seventh month of pregnancy. Pre-registration can be completed in person or online. 

To register in person, please visit our Hello Desk in the main lobby at French Hospital Medical Center, Monday – Friday 8 AM – 4 PM. Your identification and insurance cards will be required. No appointment is necessary.

Register online here.

What do I do if I think I am in labor and/or my water broke?
Notify your physician or midwife immediately.
Where should we park? 
Patient/visitor parking is located in the front of the hospital. 
Which entrance is best to use? 
Please use the main hospital entrance. After hours or if the main lobby is closed, please use the Emergency Department entrance. 
How do I check-in? 
Check in at the Hello Desk in the hospital main lobby or in the Emergency Department after hours.
How will I be prepared to go home? 
Before you and your newborn return home you will review a combination of personalized and video-recorded discharged information. We will provide educational materials on important topics such as breastfeeding, infant care, self-care, and parenting. Your nurse will review and discuss them with you before you go home. 
What will my insurance cover? 
Insurance plans vary greatly for maternity coverage. Please contact your insurance carrier for information on your coverage for the expected hospital stay for a vaginal or cesarean birth, epidural anesthesia, routine newborn nursery charges, circumcisions, postpartum, and newborn home care. 
Is there wireless internet? 
French Hospital Medical Center offers patients and hospital visitors free automatic wireless internet connection. Ask your nurse for details.  
Is smoking or tobacco permitted on the hospital campus? 
French Hospital Medical Center is a tobacco-free campus. The tobacco-free policy applies to all employees, medical staff, patients, and visitors. Tobacco is not permitted on any part of the hospital campus. Smoking is only permitted on public sidewalks. 

What is a Durable Power of Attorney or Advance Directive?
An advance directive is an individual’s written instruction concerning the provision of health care when he/she is not able to make such decisions. It may be a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, a Declaration to a Physician Pursuant to the California Natural Death Act, or a living will. French Hospital Medical Center will document in the individual's medical record whether or not an advance directive has been executed and shall include a copy of the advance directive in the medical record upon receipt of such a directive. A person who executes an advance directive can revoke it at any time. 
For more information, call the admitting office at (805) 542-6400.

Car seat information

A car seat is required in order to take your baby home. As many as 73% of car seats are not installed properly. To ensure your car seat is installed correctly, please take advantage of a free car seat inspection.
Assemble and install your baby’s car seat in your vehicle, then book an appointment with one of the car seat inspection sites listed below. These locations offer free car seat inspections by certified technicians.
San Luis Obispo CHP
675 California Blvd.
San Luis Obispo
Templeton CHP
101 Duncan Road
Santa Maria CHP
1710 N. Carlotti Drive
Santa Maria
Public Health SLO - Child Passenger Safety
SBCO F.D. No. 23 Fire Station
5003 Depot Avenue
Santa Maria