When I was expecting my first baby, I had no idea what questions to ask when choosing a hospital. Knowing what I know now (after having 4 babies- 1 labor, 4 c-sections), here are the questions I would ask before choosing which hospital to give birth:
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Hospital for Your Baby's Birth
*What are the rooms like? Are they private or shared? Is there a jacuzzi tub to labor in? Would I labor, deliver, and recover all in one room?
*What about in the event of a c-section? Would I recover in the same room I will spend my entire stay, or will I spend an hour or two in an official recovery room? Would the baby be taken away after delivery while I recovered? Or do you keep babies with their mothers at all times unless medically necessary?
*Can I eat and drink during labor?
*What type of monitoring do you require while I'm in labor?
*What methods does the hospital encourage for pain relief during labor?
*Is the hospital pro-breastfeeding? Are there well-trained lactation consultants on staff every day?
*What things are provided during labor and my stay? A birthing ball? Lactation pillow?
*What will happen to the baby after he/she is born? Do you routinely take healthy newborns to the nursery after birth, or do you encourage mother/baby bonding during the first hours after birth?
*What's the hospital's visitors policy? Is there an age requirement to visit? What are the visiting hours?
*How do you handle security? Does everyone go through a locked area in which they can only pass through by someone allowing them to before visiting you in the hospital? How do you ensure that babies do not get leave the maternity floor without their parents?
*Do you have a snack room? What types of snacks do you provide?
*Are meals provided for my husband?
*Is there a place for my husband to sleep in the room with me?
*How long can I expect to stay in the hospital after a vaginal birth? C-section?
*What level of NICU does the hospital have?
*If my baby would need to be transferred to a higher level of care, what hospitals could I expect to choose from?
*If the baby is a boy and I decide to circumcise, which day after birth could I expect that to be done?
*Is there a free breastfeeding support group at the hospital, or a free lactation consultant line for after I'm discharged?
*Do you follow-up with mothers after they are discharged and back at home?
Who do you ask to find out about a hospital?
*Many hospitals have maternity coordinators whom you can call and ask questions to over the phone. Most (if not all) also allow tours of the birthing rooms/suites where you can get a feel for the hospital and staff before making your choice. You can also get helpful information about a hospital by asking your doctor and friends who've delivered there.