Questions to Ask During a Hospital or Birth Center Tour
Choosing a Place to have your Baby
In many rural communities, there might only be one option for a hospital or birth center where babies are born. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one option, the task of choosing a place to welcome your baby to the outside world can be a daunting one. Every birthing facility has cared for mothers who have found that facility to be a great fit for them, but that does not mean that this facility is a great fit for all birthing mothers. While knowledge is power and mothers have the right to make decisions on their health care and the health care for their newborns, walking into a birth space with less than calm, trusting feelings can have a huge effect on a mother’s experience. As a doula, I encourage my clients to explore all of their options before deciding on a birthing facility. In order to make an informed decision, I have put together a list of questions to ask during a hospital or birth center tour so that pregnant mothers and their partners might feel that they are able to understand the full picture of the center before making a decision.
I encourage you to print and share this list of questions, ask the ones that you feel pertain to your situation, and make the decision that best fits you and your growing family.
Questions to ask during a hospital/birth center tour:
If I believe I am in labor, where will I initially be examined? Will I have to wait in a general waiting area, triage, or will I be brought to a private room?
How many births take place here on average, each day? Each week?
Are there any situations that may take me away from my birth partner?
Are there any restrictions on who is allowed in the room during birth? How many people can be with me?
Can I walk and move around during labor? Am I just allowed to walk around my room? If I can walk around elsewhere, can you please show me where laboring mothers walk.
Is there a tub or shower available for me during labor? Is it in my room, or shared by the entire floor? If it is shared, how often are women are turned away from using it because it was already occupied?
What birthing tools are available? Birth balls, birth stools, squat bars, etc?
What is your policy on photography or videography during labor?
Will I be in one room during my entire stay, or will I be moved to a separate postpartum room?
Will I have a private tub or shower for my postpartum room, or will I have to share?
Will I have to share a room with another family under any circumstances? How often does this happen?
Make sure to assess the rooms. Do you feel comfortable there?
Where will your birth partner sit and sleep during your stay?
How does the hospital support breastfeeding? Who will be there to guide you, shortly after your baby is born? Is support offered seven days a week?
Is there a newborn intensive care unit (NICU)?
Are there any situations where my baby would need to be transferred to another facility?
What security measures are there? Do people have to be buzzed in, are there security guards, and is a device placed on your tiny baby to make sure he cannot leave the floor?
Are there specific hours for visiting? Do you allow young children to visit?
Is there access to the Internet?
Is there a cafe? What time does the hospital kitchen close?
What follow-up support do you offer for new parents? Can I call, at any time, if I have questions or need emotional support?