One of the things I looked forward to the most (but was least prepared for) was the maternity hospital tour! There are so many different questions you could ask – in fact? I’m sure this list could be infinite! But I wanted to share with you what I thought were some of the most important ones! (And of course, I have a few sub-questions, so the list is actually a bit longer!)
1.What is your check in Procedure? Do I come straying to L&D? Do I head to the ER first? Do I need my doctor to refer me? (Yes, these questions seem silly – but I had a friend rejected while in hard labor because her doctor didn’t call ahead!!! Granted, this was a small town hospital, but still!!)
2.What is your policy on visitors? This is one I didn’t even think to ask my first go-round! (And I lucked out that my hospital was insanely liberal in this area – my parents were able to come up to visit at 1:30am when they got into town! Which is lucky because they hadn’t been to my house in 4 years and I’d given them the wrong directions! Pregnancy brain is a scary thing sometimes.)
*What are visiting hours? How many people are allowed in the actual birthing room? (What’s your policy on my children in the birthing room?)
*What is your security policy for entering and leaving the maternity floor? (Is there open access to the floor, or do people need to be buzzed in/approved?)
3.What is your policy on technology? This is one thing that is vastly different across hospitals – and even if you know the hospitals policy? The neonatal/maternity floors often have yet another policy of their own!
*Can I use my cell phone?
*Do you have policy on Video/Photography during labor and after baby is born?
*Is there WiFi? (I spent three days on bedrest in the hospital, and I was lost without WiFi! (I can’t imagine a longer time – I used my cell phone hotspot!)
4.Can you tell me about your average birthing experience? Asking this way will open the door for them to (potentially) tell you their C-section rate, policies on epidurals, etc. But in case they don’t? I’ve got a list of sub questions! Sometimes though, this will be a place for them too (hopefully) openly give you a bulk of their information!
*How friendly is this hospital towards natural-birth? (I was offered an epidural BEFORE I was even induced!! That drove me insane, since I wanted to attempt as natural as possible.)
*What’s your C-section rate? (Again, this often depends on the specific doctor, but doesn’t hurt to ask!)
*Do you have showers/birthing pools/tubs available? Are they in the room or more “community environment”?
*What about birthing tools? Balls/Birth Stools/Etch – and can I bring my own?
*Am I allowed to walk during labor? In room/In Hall/? May I see that location (if out of room) ?
*Am I allowed to eat/drink during labor?
5.How often do you preform fetal monitoring? This is one that seemed like a no-brainer to me, but I was shocked at how rarely this was done at my hospital! (And yet the hospital across town? My friends told me they never stopped bugging them to monitor on the hour!)
6.Tell me a little about the rooms? Of course, this should be a standard part of the tour! But, it never hurts to ask more detailed questions! (Or maybe all the rooms were in use when you visited!)
*Will I stay in the same room the entire time? (My hospital has rooms specifically for labor, and then separate rooms for post-birth.)
*What’s the cost to upgrade to a private room?
7.Can you tell me about meal services? I know this doesn’t seem super important, but trust me? It can be!! I never thought to ask, and after 2 days of not eating (thanks to my hospitals labor policy) I was STARVED and so sad that I had to wait an extra 6 hours before the hospital café opened!!
*Where is the dining room/cafeteria/café? And what are meal hours? (Your family may be hanging around and want to eat too!)
*Am I automatically charged for meals while I am here?
8.How does the hospital feel about formula/breast feeding? No matter which route you are going? It’s important that your hospital is supportive of your choices! (And that you’re prepared to advocate for yourself, or have an advocate appointed in case you’re not able to fight for yourself!)
*How soon after delivery will I be able to nurse my baby?
*If I am breastfeeding, do you have support available? (If not, can I bring in my own lactation specialist?)
*Does the hospital support formula feeding?
9.What about Cesarean? Knowing the hospitals policies on emergency c/sections is important! (Especially since some regions seem quick to push a cesarean, even when not necessary!)
*How long after the birth will I be allow skin-to-skin contact with my baby?
*What is hospital policy on Discharge post-cesarean?
*How do you handle emergency C-sections? How long is the average time spent in recovery?
10. What if something goes wrong? I hate to have to go here, I really do. But unfortunately sometimes? It’s necessary.
*Does the hospital have a NICU?
*Are there any reasons my baby would need to be transferred to another hospital?
11. What is the hospitals policy on discharging? Do they have a standard time, or is it a case-by-case scenario?
*Is there a specific time of day that you do standards discharges?
*Do you offer any post-discharge support? (Can I call a nurse? Or am I on my own with my regular doctor?)
*Do you do carseat checks?