Location. Location. Location. Where you deliver is a key factor in how your delivery experience will go. Before you decide, you’ll want to discuss it with your doctor or midwife (and maybe even your pediatrician, if you have one already) and plan for a visit. A tour of the birthing center is hugely helpful because you can see and hear things for yourself, get familiar with the layout before D day, and ask questions.
Tour guides prepare their talk to cover lots of ground but asking questions is always encouraged so we’ve compiled a dozen essential ones. Print this as a guide and add your specific questions to it. Don’t be afraid to mention any concerns or fears. A good tour can help you feel prepared and comfortable for the big day!
- What will my insurance cover? Make sure you understand the costs and services provided, including options, like a private room vs. a shared room. Knowing what your insurance covers can help you decide where to deliver and how to budget for your portion of expenses. Many birthing centers will estimate your costs when you preregister.
- Do I need to preregister? Once you decide where you’d like to deliver, preregister to save time and hassle when you’re in labor. Digging for your insurance card between contractions is no fun.
- What should I pack? Many hospitals will provide a list of things to bring from home, like clothes for mom and baby, a pillow and music. Get it and pack a “go bag” early! It’s important to ask if certain things are prohibited so there aren’t any unhappy surprises when you arrive. Food, medicines and your own birthing aids may need to stay at home.
- Will you follow the birth plan I made with my doctor? A birth plan is a wish list, not a guarantee. Most hospitals encourage creating a plan but caution that you may not be able to follow it to the letter. For example, if your labor does not progress as expected you and your birth team might decide that certain interventions are appropriate. If it’s important to you, ask about it.
- Who can be in the room when I deliver? Are cameras or video cameras allowed? Hospital policy may limit the number of people who can be in the room at the time of delivery for safety. You may also have a special request for friends or family members to be with you – or to stay in the waiting room. Ditto camera and video equipment – it’s usually your choice.
- What are my option for pain management? What if I change my mind? This is a valid question that needs to be discussed with your doctor as well. Typically hospitals offer a variety of pain management options.
- What happens in case of an emergency? Even if your pregnancy has been problem-free and routine, it’s important to understand what options are available if a medical emergency does arise – for you or your baby – including be transferred to another facility.
- What birthing amenities do you provide? Hospitals now offer many birth aids, from bathtubs to birthing balls, and essential oils to music therapy. Doulas, midwives and other labor assistance are options that may be helpful to you, in addition to a doctor’s care. Ask about all that is available to you so you can add items to your birth plan and enjoy the benefits.
- Do you offer lactation services? What about sibling classes, new parent classes or other education? Pre- and post-natal classes can help your family adjust to a new baby with ease. Services such as lactation assistance can also be money savers – sparing you from having to hire outside help.
- What are your security policies? Facility and infant security is paramount. Clear policies can give you peace of mind. They can also help you avoid security no-no’s like walking in the halls with your baby in your arms (often prohibited because of the risk of fainting or falling.)
- What are visiting hours and who can visit? This is important if you want your support person to stay overnight with you, your family or other children to visit, or you want to be left alone to bond. Many birthing centers with private rooms now offer 24/7 visitation, provided it’s desired and visitors are healthy and respectful of others.
Tour StoneSprings Hospital Center to see the excellent obstetrics and newborn care available right in your own neighborhood. Our birthing experience focuses on a whole family experience, from classes to private suites, to 24/7 visitation. Schedule your tour today.