Medical Minute: How to Choose the Best Hospital for You

There are so many decisions to be made when you decide to get pregnant. What do I eat? Sleep on my back? Find a pediatrician? An ob/gyn? Natural or medicated?

Let us help you with one question—which hospital do I give birth in? lists some great questions you can ask your ob/gyn about the hospitals you’re considering. You’ll also need to ask yourself what you want from a hospital. Think hard about what you want and rest assured when you make your decision.

·         Will I be able to labor and give birth in the same room?

·         Are lactation consultants available? (A specialist can be invaluable in helping you get off to a good start with breastfeeding.)

·         Is there an anesthesiologist or anesthetist 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 with me in the labor and birth room? (Your partner will certainly be welcome in any institution, but if you want your sister, a best friend, a doula, or anyone else to be there, you should make sure early in your pregnancy that it’ll be allowed.)

·         Will my baby’s siblings be allowed to attend the birth?

·         Are there private postpartum rooms, if desired? Is one generally available? What’s the extra charge? (Unless you need a private room for medical reasons, your insurance won’t fully cover the cost, so you may want to find out how much you’ll have to pay if you opt for a single room.)

·         Can the baby stay with me in my room 24/7?

·         Can my partner stay with me in the room? What accommodations do you have for partners?

·         What’s the visitation policy? Are there specified visiting hours?

·         Does the hospital accept cord blood donations or arrange for cord blood donations to a public cord blood bank (if this is something you’re interested in doing)?

Welcoming a new baby into your family is always an exciting time, but it can be stressful. Thinking ahead and asking some of these questions in advance can help take some of that pressure off of you as your due date draws closer. And don’t underestimate the power of a good ole’ fashion chat with your best friends! Word of mouth is so important and can be invaluable when making so many decisions.

What things were most important to you?

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