Our most important concern is the health and safety of mother and child. That means that while we honor labor and delivery as natural processes, we also have to be ready for any possible emergency. We have immediate access to all the monitoring equipment, technology, and specialists needed to keep mother and baby as safe as possible. In the event a woman needs an emergency cesarean or other emergency OB/GYN-related surgeries, we have a surgical suite and on-site team at the ready, 24/7.

(Take a tour of our Family Birth Center)

Medically, our outcomes are excellent, as evidenced by these important markers:

  • Low cesarean section rate. Marin General Hospital was named to the California Health and Human Services Agency’s (CHHS) Hospital C-Section Honor Roll for its achievement in low cesarean section delivery rates. A cesarean can be life saving for mother, baby, or both. However, it is also open abdominal surgery. We only perform cesareans, whether planned or unplanned, when medically necessary.
  • High rate of successful vaginal births after a cesarean (VBAC).
  • High breastfeeding rate: an impressive 99% of our new moms choose to breastfeed.
  • Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the United Nations International Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization. We are one of only 414 US and birth centers hospitals (out of over 6000) to hold Baby-Friendly status.

Assuring Quality Care

Every mother and baby deserve the highest level of care. That’s the goal of the California Maternity Quality Care Collaborative, devoted to eliminating preventable maternal death and injury and promoting equitable maternity care in California. As a proud member of this collaborative, we have everything in place to make sure you get the kind of delivery you want, whether physician-assisted, midwife-assisted, or VBAC.

Expectant mothers may choose a delivery primarily attended by an obstetrician or midwife, depending on their personal preferences and chosen prenatal care provider. We are the only hospital in either Marin or San Francisco to have a midwife-doctor team available in the hospital at all times. For midwife-assisted births, strict, written protocols determine when physician assistance is required, such as in the case of an emergency cesarean section.

Our specialized support team expands to include anesthesia, pediatrics, specialized nursing care, and advanced perinatology, all available 24/7. Our nursing team is comprised of dedicated obstetric and neonatal nurses, specially trained in support of both natural childbirth and high-risk deliveries.

Our Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the only one in Marin County, is staffed around-the-clock with an in-house pediatric hospitalist who specializes in neonatology (the care of newborns) and with nurses certified in neonatology. We have an array of technologies and services on hand to meet the special needs of preemies and sick newborns. To ensure the best possible care for the infants in our NICU, our interdisciplinary team meets twice a day to discuss every tiny patient. We offer expanded testing and screenings for newborns, and we have on-site audiology equipment for hearing screenings

A Special Partnership for Special Deliveries

Labor and delivery are natural processes, but nature can be unpredictable. Some pregnancies are high-risk from the beginning. Others go smoothly until a sudden complication occurs. Newborns may be born too soon, or have other medial issues. That’s why we teamed up with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, so our mothers and babies could have access to the expertise and resources of one of the nation’s preeminent pediatric hospitals, without leaving Marin.

The collaboration between our two organizations ensures access, continuity, and quality of care. UCSF perinatologists and neonatologists work on-site at Marin General Hospital and see patients at an outpatient multi-specialty practice in Marin with experts in a variety of pediatric specialties, including neonatologists. This practice also includes a prenatal diagnostic center staffed with UCSF perinatologists to provide regular monitoring of high-risk pregnancies. To ensure the highest standards of care for mothers delivering at Marin General Hospital and for babies in the Level II NICU, we are working with UCSF to develop joint practice standards and quality metrics for obstetrics, perinatology and neonatology. 

In addition, pregnant women with types 1, 2, or gestational diabetes can get special advice and supervision from our Braden Diabetes Center.

The Family Birth Center

There’s a reason we call our labor and delivery suite the Family Birth Center – our approach involves the whole family. We are flexible and supportive of your choices and encourage you to create a Birth Preferences Plan so you can have your baby, your way. Spouses, older siblings, and whomever else you designate are all welcome to attend the labor and birth. We encourage partner participation in the birth, before, during, and after, and we offer you and your partner education and support, every step of the way

Normally, an expectant mother labors, delivers, and recovers in the same private room before being moved to a private postpartum room. The spacious private rooms in our Family Birth Center are designed for the comfort of the mom-to-be and her loved ones. Each room has a private bath with a shower, television, comfortable chairs and tables, a rocking chair, and a warming table for the newborn. Once your baby is born and you have enjoyed a recovery and bonding period together, you and your new arrival will be transferred to another private room for the rest of your hospital stay. Cots are available for support people who wish to stay with the laboring woman overnight.

Use our Find a Doctor widget to find a list of prenatal care providers who practice at Marin General Hospital.

(Take a tour of our Family Birth Center)


We welcome anyone you want with you during your labor, from a spouse, partner, parent, or older child, to a doula or close friend. Barring any complications, you are free to labor in the way that makes you most comfortable. 

  • Our anesthesiologist is on call to provide pain medication at the laboring woman’s request.
  • We have wireless fetal monitoring so you can walk around the unit without being hooked up to monitors. Intermittent fetal monitoring is also available if desired and clinically appropriate.
  • We have the personnel and equipment in place to perform an unplanned cesarean section or other emergency surgery. If you are having a midwife-attended birth and an emergency occurs, there are clear protocols for when and how the doctor steps in. Our Certified Nurse Midwives are trained to assist the OB/GYN in the event of an emergency cesarean section.
  • While we do not perform water births, we understand some women prefer to labor in warm water. You can request to have our AquaEez® spa or bring your own birthing tub. When your baby is close to delivery, the nursing staff will help you find the most comfortable position to deliver your baby.
  • We only allow one medical and/or midwifery student in the labor room at a time, and only with the mother’s permission.

We recommend you consider bringing the following items with you prior to delivering at Marin General Hospital.


Our goal before, during, and after labor is a healthy mother and child. Once your baby has been delivered, we encourage immediate bonding.

  • Right after birth, we place your baby on your breast for skin-to-skin bonding. We practice the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed guidelines for delayed cord clamping.
  • We encourage breastfeeding right away. Our nurses are available to help you with breastfeeding issues. In addition, we have certified lactation consultants (IBCLC) on staff. The hospital’s BabyNook Store sells breastfeeding supplies on-site. Learn more about our Lactation Center.
  • We delay bathing newborns to encourage healthy bonding and breastfeeding. This allows you to participate in your baby's first bath.

Before Discharge

Specially trained staff provides ongoing education to ensure each new family has access to the information and resources they need as they begin their new lives together. Our expert postpartum nurses and certified lactation consultants are available to assist women with breastfeeding questions and issues. A perinatal data coordinator will visit new parents to record the newborn's information and register the birth with the County of Marin, initiating the birth certificate process. The Marin General Audiology department performs hearing screens on all our babies before discharge. And as a special treat for mom, a massage therapist from our Center for Health & Wellness is available to give her a massage!

If you are planning to deliver your baby at our Family Birth Center, please help us prepare for your arrival by pre registering with us!

Learn More

Listen to our podcast, as OBGYN Lizellen La Follette talks about Marin General Hospital’s pro-woman, patient-centric approach to labor and delivery.