Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Questions to Ask During a Hospital Tour

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.


  1. Very good questions. I would also ask what the overall attitude toward birth plans are. Does the staff look at them? Are certain nurses assigned to patients who prefer less interventions for their births? Some nurses do better with women who plan on getting epidurals, as opposed to nurses who are knowledgeable about encouraging alternatives to pain relief if women are trying to have an unmedicated birth.

  2. SO useful!!! Thanks I really needed something like this, I have no idea where to start about hospitals.. :)

  3. Hey girl!! I started a new message board Monday over on http://www.womenlivingwell.org

    One of the mom's was asking pregnancy questions and I referred her to your blog on the board!

    I couldn't think of any other Christian blogs on pregnancy! I'm so glad you write on pregnancy- you are unique - keep it up!

    And stop by the board sometime and share your wisdom with the mommies AND be sure to leave your blog link there!


  4. Looks like you have it all covered, but a thought came to me...I don't know if videotaping a c-section birth is still an issue or not. My youngest is 9, so it's been a while. But when my 11 year old was born by c-section, someone told my husband not to video in the operating room. With the other two, we had video camera in the operating room, but did not video any part of the surgery.

    Call me weird, but I would have loved to have had a camera pointed at my belly as the baby was coming out, yeah with all the "liquid" and everything.

    I missed my calling - should have been a doctor. :)

  5. We went on a tour of the hospital where I gave birth both times but that was about it. I didn't ask any questions but I wish I had...I was surprised by a lot of things the first time around. The second time around wasn't too bad since I had already been through it.

    This is a great list for moms-to-be!

  6. Thanks for posting this. I'm freaking out a little right now because I have a lot of these questions [just wrote a blog post on it earlier]. I'm supposed to be touring the hospital in the next few weeks as part of their childbirth education class, so hopefully everything will be answered. I'm just nervous about how open they really will be to a birth plan and a natural [low intervention] birth.


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