The facility you choose to birth in can be as important as the provider you hire for your birth.
As a mommy, I have experience birthing at two different hospitals in two different counties in Florida. There were pluses and minuses about my experiences and I have learned that so much to do with my minuses has to do with the birth team I selected for my births. So if you are on the fence about your provider, be sure you check out my list of questions to ask an OBGYN or Midwife before you give birth here.
Below I am including a list of questions that as an expecting couple, you should read through to see which questions are important to you, print and highlight and ask when you go on a tour of the hospitals you are considering birthing in.
The first thing I suggest is calling the hospital you hope to birth in and requesting a private tour. Private tours may not be offered at every hospital, but what I like about the hospitals that do offer private tours are, the person giving the tour usually has more experience to answer your questions with more accuracy and more current information and they usually have more time to show you around and talk to you.
QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING A HOSPITAL TOUR
HOSPITAL AND ROOM INFORMATION
1. Are L&D rooms shared or private? What about post partum rooms? Is there the option for a private room (and if so, is there a fee?) Are the bathrooms private or shared?
2. Will I stay in the same room from labor through post partum?
3. When I arrive and I am in labor, do I get admitted to a labor and delivery room immediately or do I go to a triage area first to be assessed? What happens during an assessment? And how long before I can be admitted to my own L&D room?
4. Are all the rooms the same as the one we’re being shown? Are some smaller or larger, less renovated, does every room have a window?
5. Does each room offer a TV? With how many channels?
6. Is there wireless internet access?
7. How many births take place at this hospital on average each day?
8. What happens if all of the labor and delivery rooms are full? How often does that happen?
9. How many operating rooms do you have in the event that I need a c-section?
10. How many people am I able to have as part of my birth team in the room while I'm in labor and during delivery? How many people are able to come with me into the operating room in the event of a C-section?
11. Is there a waiting area for friends and family? (Can I see it?)
12. Will I have access to hydrotherapy to help with pain management during labor via a shower or a laboring tub?
13. Is there a couch/bed for my partner/spouse to spend the night with me while I'm in the hospital?
14. Is this a teaching hospital? If so, can I expect interns or students to be present during my delivery? Can I request that they not attend if I don’t feel comfortable with them there?
15. Where should I park when I arrive in labor? Where should my birth team or guests park when I am in labor / post partum?
16. Does the hospital offer pregnancy and birth classes? And what kind? (If so, is there a fee?)
17. When and where do I go to register myself for the hospital?
18. What are your maternal and infant mortality rates at this hospital?
LABOR AND DELIVERY QUESTIONS
1. (If you plan on it) I intend on walking during labor am I restricted to my room?
2. When will I get an IV line when I arrive to the hospital? Does the hospital offer hep-locks?
3. Does the hospital offer intermittent fetal monitoring during labor?
4. What is your approach on pelvic exams during labor and how frequently do nurses do them?
5. What positions can I give birth in? Ie. pushing on side, on hands and knees, squatting.
6. What labor and birthing equipment does the hospital offer? Ie. birthing/laboring balls, peanut balls, squat/birthing bars, showers, laboring tubs, rocking chair, birthing stool.
7. What's the hospital's C-section rate? How familiar is the hospital with gentle cesareans (clear drape replaced blue drape once baby is born, immediate skin to skin, breastfeeding all in the OR) and how frequently do you do them?
8. How comfortable is the hospital with working with doulas? How comfortable is the hospital and L&D nurses with unmedicated births and hypnobirthing?
9. Are there any situations that my birth partner/spouse won't be able to be with me (such as getting an epidural or preparing for a c/section)?
10. Is there a policy regarding videos or photos during labor and delivery?
11. Can I eat and/or drink while in labor? Can I bring honey sticks or popsicles for labor?
12. Can I wear my own labor gown during labor as long as it has buttons everywhere and access to fetal monitoring belts/epidural if needed?
13. What is the hospital position on placenta encapsulation?
14. How long can the baby exam be delayed for, how long am I able to do the initial skin to skin bonding with my baby immediately following labor before any procedures are done with my baby (vitamin K, eye ointment, baby exam).
POST PARTUM QUESTIONS
1. What is the hospital's policy on washing the baby following birth?
2. What is the hospital's position on immediate skin to skin?
3. What is the hospital's position with delayed cord clamping and cord blood banking? Am I able to request for my partner to cut the cord?
4. Is there a newborn intensive care unit (NICU)? What floor is it located on? Is it easy to access from the postpartum rooms?
5. Does the hospital have a nursery? How often can I request for my baby to be taken to the nursery if I need to rest? Will my baby be brought to me for feedings?
6. Does the hospital offer a lactation consultant? How soon after birth can I meet with one?
7. Does the hospital have a breast pump I can use during my stay?
8. How long will I stay in the hospital post-delivery?
9. Does the hospital offer a special meal for new parents? Are we able to use our own delivery services for post-birth meals?
10. What are the visiting hours and policies once the baby is born? Are children allowed to visit during early labor and after birth?
11. What security measures does the hospital have in place to insure the safety of Mom and Baby?
12. Does the hospital offer infant CPR classes for new parents before discharge?
13. Does the hospital offer breastfeeding support classes?
14. Does the hospital offer whooping cough vaccinations for parents and caregivers?
15. Do we need to have a car seat installed in our car before we can take the baby home?
Read the Questions to ask an OBGYN or Midwife before you give birth here.