Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum Room Overview

Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum room with a bed, ball, tub, and more

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The labor room is one of the most versatile rooms in a hospital. It is called a labor, delivery, and recovery room (LDR). This is the type of room that some hospitals and almost all birth centers use for their care. Once you are placed in a room, this is the room that you will use for your labor and birth, including the initial hours of recovery.


The LDR is designed for nearly all births. It can handle a birth for women choosing to go unmedicated or those who wish to have an epidural. The vast majority of these rooms can also handle minor emergencies and procedures including forceps and vacuum deliveries. You would only need to leave this room if you needed to go to the operating room for a cesarean or the high potential of a cesarean (such as in the cases of twin births or a vaginal breech birth attempt).

Once the baby is born, there is equipment in the room to handle newborn care as well. While the immediate care of the newborn is best handled via skin to skin with the mother, if there were an emergency or the need for specialized equipment, the average LDR room is prepared with a warmer for the baby and life-saving resuscitation equipment. You stay in this room for the first hour or two after you give birth, then transferred to a postpartum room.

LDRP Rooms

Some facilities also offer what is called a Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum (LDRP) room. In the LDRP, you will give birth here and your baby will stay with you until you are ready to go home. Many of these facilities use the nursery only for babies who are ill, rather than for well newborn care.

As with the LDR, the LDRP is equipped to handle only vaginal births. You can have an epidural or other pain medication in this room if they are available at your place of birth. And, if you are in a hospital and require it, you may also have a forceps or vacuum delivery in the vast majority of LDRP rooms. If you require a c-section at the hospital, you will generally not recover in the LDR or the LDRP, even if you labored in one. This may depend on space and the number of people on shift.

Taking a Hospital Tour

When you take your hospital tour before you give birth, be sure to ask about the rooms where you will give birth. Your hospital may also have a combination of rooms, meaning some people will get a special room and others won't. This may be first-come-first-served or it may be by special request.

An example might be that your hospital only has a few rooms equipped to handle a water birth. This means that they may decide who gets to go to which room based on a number of factors including people who expressed interest earlier in pre-registration. Sometimes it's based on who has taken certain classes at the hospital or other factors.

Ask what is in each room and what you should consider bringing for comfort. An example might be a regular or peanut birth ball, or a small speaker to play music during labor.

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By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.