When I was pregnant, I had absolutely no idea that there are quite a few things to check in the hospital you would like to give birth. In fact, I did not even know that your provider is registered at only a few hospitals and you need to choose from those options. Of course, your doctor matters. But depending on your OB and her on-call schedule, she may not even be the one delivering your baby. It could be another doctor from the practice or it could even be an ob-gyn who happens to be working at the hospital the night you go into labor——someone you’ve never met before.
So in addition to the doctor, your surroundings definitely influence how comfortable your birthing process will be, as a whole. After all, the majority of the time, you’ll be tended to by hospital staff.
In my case, I met with an OB/ GYN only to find out after 4 appointments that she only delivers at a hospital I did not want to go to. Luckily, switching providers was not a hassle and I was able to switch to another doctor and deliver at the hospital I liked!
Being a FTM I wanted to be well informed and also only wanted the best both for my baby and myself. I scheduled Hospital tours at 4 hospitals in my area, did a lot of research, asked tons of questions to the tour coordinator and finally decided on the hospital and provider.
From my experience here are 6 points you should consider while finalizing your birthing hospital:
- Facility for staying mobile during L&D and trying different birth positions: These days it is highly advised that if you are having a normal no-risk vaginal delivery you should keep walking, squatting, using the birth ball, using peanut ball etc. when you have contractions, to let gravity help you get the baby out. Also, lots of hospitals encourage different birthing positions and provide bars, balls, and stools for this purpose. Make sure you check with them about what equipments they have in the hospital.
- Wireless fetal monitoring: I cannot stress enough how important this is. As soon as you are in the labor and delivery room, you will most likely be started on an IV and a fetal monitoring device will be wrapped to your belly to monitor the baby. Now if this monitor is not wireless you will have to lie on the bed at all times. So, the hospital might provide you with all the types of equipment as discussed in point 1, but you cannot use them! So make sure you check with them about the wireless monitor.
- Shifting to another room: Most hospitals have a labor and delivery room and then once the baby is born they shift you to another room for your post-delivery stay. However, there are a few that do not have that facility and the mother and baby stay in the same room in which the delivery was done. Personally, I feel that is unhygienic. If you have no option at least be prepared with lots of clothes, So check the hospital facility and plan accordingly.
- NICU and Facilities for high-risk pregnancy: It is very important to have the piece of mind that if god forbid the baby needs immediate intensive care, a Neonatal ICU will be available to provide immediate care. Also, if you have had a complicated past pregnancy, high-risk pregnancy or any other health condition, you should certainly ensure that the hospital has facilities to handle your situation.
- Does it support your birth plan?: Does the hospital support natural birth? Do they have a low rate of C – section deliveries for low-risk pregnancies? Do they have a lactation consultant in the hospital? Do they support women on their choice of taking walking epidural/ epidural? All these questions will be helpful to determine if the hospital staff will be supportive of your birth plan.
- Accommodation for the support person: I wanted to be sure there is a bed/ cot for my support person( my husband). Since I knew he will be there throughout L&D, I wanted to be sure there is a place for him to be able to rest after we were shifted.