Visiting the hospital or birthing center where you plan to deliver is a great way to prepare yourself for your baby's birth. This is especially helpful if you're a first-time mom, or are delivering at a different location from the birth(s) of your other child(ren). A hospital tour can also help alleviate any potential anxiety and help inform your birth plan. Plan on scheduling your tour around week 30 of your pregnancy, or even earlier, if you are trying to decide where to deliver. If you're already planning on taking a birthing class at your delivery location, you can also set up a time to tour the facility directly before or following your class.
Since it can be overwhelming trying to remember all of the things you could/should ask during this tour, we've compiled 20 core questions to ask.
1. On average, how many births take place at the hospital per day?
2. Of these births, what percentage of women have unplanned C-sections?
3. Do you utilize students or residents?
4. Are there any scenarios that would separate me from my birthing partner/companions?
5. If I think I'm in labor, where will I be initially examined? Will I be brought to a private room or have to wait in the general waiting area?
6. Do you offer breastfeeding support services?
7. Will my baby be allowed to stay in the room with me the whole time? Can the baby stay in the nursery overnight if I need a break?
8. Can my partner spend the night with me in the hospital? If so, what are the sleeping accommodations?
9. Are cell phones, cameras and video cameras allowed in the labor and delivery rooms?
10. How many people can be in the delivery room with me?
11. How are room costs handled?
12. What are the hospital's (and maternity wing's) security policies?
13. Is there an age requirement for children who visit?
14. Is there a limit to how many visitors can be in the room at once?
15. What are your visiting hours?
16. What birthing amenities (such as a birth ball, birthing tub, access to doulas, etc.) does the hospital offer?
17. Can I walk and move around during labor? Am I confined to my room, or can I walk elsewhere? If so, please show me where I can walk.
18. Is there a cafeteria or cafe? What time does the hospital kitchen close?
19. What time of day does discharge typically occur?
20. What follow-up support do you offer for new parents?
Hopefully, these questions will help empower you to feel ready and excited to deliver your baby, and help you to be more comfortable with where you're delivering.