Choosing a Hospital or Birthing Center
Early in your pregnancy is the time that you should begin to consider who will be your obstetrician (an obstetrician is a doctor who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth, and a woman’s reproductive system; also called an OB-GYN) and where you are going to give birth to your baby.
In most cases, you’ll deliver your baby at the hospital where your doctor has admitting privileges. So keep in mind that when you choose a doctor (or midwife) as that will likely determine the hospital where you will give birth. Some doctors have admitting privileges at more than one hospital. If this is true for your healthcare provider, ask how where you will deliver will be determined.
It is valuable to do research to understand the hospital’s policies and approach to birth where you will be delivering your baby.
Here are a few questions you may want answered in advance:
- Will I be labor and give birth in the same room? Do they offer LDR’s (Labor, Delivery, Recovery Rooms) or LDRP’s (Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum rooms)?
- What are the hospital’s policies about continuous electronic fetal monitoring and routine intravenous hydration? Will my practitioner and I be able to decide what’s right for me?
- Is there an anesthesiologist or anesthetist (doctors that help with management of pain) at the hospital around the clock?
- How many women in labor does each nurse typically care for?
- How many support people are allowed to be in the labor and birth room? Will the baby’s siblings be allowed to attend the birth?
- What is the policy on the baby “rooming in”? Can he/she stay with me in my room 24/7?
- Why would my baby need to go to the nursery?
- Can my partner stay with me in the room? What accommodations do you have for partners?
- Are lactation consultants available? (Specialists that are breastfeeding educators and consultants)
- What are the visiting hours?
- What security does the facility have in place to protect you and your newborn?
How can I get answers to these questions?
Most hospitals have set days and times for tours. The purpose of these tours is to educate the expectant mothers and families about their services.
If you do take a tour, pay particular attention to what’s being said and don’t be shy about asking questions. Yes, it is important and comforting to see the physical space, but do not let the décor distract you. Make sure you understand what to expect from the hospital and how they approach labor, delivery and postpartum.
If you have questions about pregnancy Medicaid, Chip Perinatal, or need help finding a provider that accepts Medicaid or CHIP perinatal, please make an appointment at Prestonwood Pregnancy Center to see our Health Navigator.