Tall Mom tiny baby: 40 QUESTIONS TO ASK ON A MATERNITY TOUR OF HOSPITALS AND BIRTH CENTERS

40 QUESTIONS TO ASK ON A MATERNITY TOUR OF HOSPITALS AND BIRTH CENTERS

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Most expecting parents tour their birthing center or hospital during the third trimester. This maternity tour is generally meant to help them get the lay of the land, understand what is available, and where they will be on the big day!

I decided to shop around different hospitals in Rhode Island, to find out which one was the right fit for me. After touring, I reviewed and blogged about the five most popular places for birth in the Ocean State: (click the link for the review of each hospital)

I highly recommend expecting parents visit a couple of different hospitals or birth centers, at any time during (or before) pregnancy. If you start off early, you have a head start! Just call the hospital, tell them that you would like to set up a private tour, and find a date and time that works for you. I had to set up an official group tour for Women and Infants, but the rest of the hospitals were able to see me the day that I called.

The tours I went on were free, and generally took about twenty minutes. At first, I carried a list of questions that were important to me. After two tours, I knew what to look and ask for. In the end, I felt very educated in the birth options that our state had to offer, and made a decision that was best for me and my family.
Here are 40 Questions To Ask While Touring Birthing Facilities Or Maternity Wings:
  1. If I believe I am in labor, where will I initially be examined? Will I have to wait in a general waiting area, triage, or will I be brought to a private room?
  2. How many births take place here on average, each day?
  3. What percentage of women here have c-sections?
  4. Do you utilize students or residents?
  5. Are there any situations that may take me away from my birth partner?
  6. Are there any restrictions on who is allowed in the room during birth? How many people can be with me?
  7. How comfortable is the hospital with natural births?
  8. Am I able to avoid having an IV upon entering, and have a Hep Lock instead? (or nothing at all)
  9. Can I eat and drink during labor?
  10. How often are you fetal monitoring?
  11. Can I walk and move around during labor? Am I just allowed to walk around my room? If I can walk around elsewhere, show me where laboring mothers walk.
  12. Is there a tub or shower available for me during labor? Is it in my room, or shared by the entire floor? If it is shared, how often are women are turned away from using it because someone beat them to it?
  13. What is the average time a laboring mother needs to wait for an epidural?
  14. What positions do you allow mothers to give birth?
  15. What birthing tools are available? Birth balls, birth stools, etc?
  16. What is your policy on photography or videography during labor?
  17. Will I be in one room during my entire stay, or will I be moved to a separate postpartum room?
  18. Will I have a private tub or shower for my postpartum room, or will I have to share?
  19. Will I have to share a room with another family?
  20. What is your policy on baby care immediately after birth? If my baby needs to be checked, weighed, or placed in a heater - will he be taken out of my room? Or will the examinations take place in my room?
  21. Make sure to assess the rooms. Do you feel comfortable there?
  22. Where will your birth partner sit and sleep during your stay? Have them try out the chairs.
  23. How does the hospital support breastfeeding? Who will be there to guide you, shortly after your baby is born? Is support offered seven days a week?
  24. Does the hospital support supplementing breastfeeding with formula?
  25. Does the hospital support formula feeding?
  26. Can I have my child immediately placed skin to skin after a c-section?
  27. Can I choose to breastfeed immediately after a c-section?
  28. Is there a newborn intensive care unit (NICU)?
  29. Are there any situations where my baby would need to be transferred to another facility?
  30. What security measures are there? Do people have to be buzzed in, are there security guards, and is a device placed on your tiny baby to make sure he can not leave the floor?
  31. Are there specific hours for visiting? Do you allow young children to visit?
  32. Does the hospital encourage the baby rooming in with the parents, or do they encourage the baby to stay in the nursery?
  33. Is there access to the Internet?
  34. Is there valet? At what times?
  35. Will we have a TV? What channels?
  36. Is there a CD or MP3 player in the labor room?
  37. Do you have an option for a special "stork dinner" during our stay?
  38. Is there a cafe? What time does the hospital kitchen close?
  39. What time of day does discharge generally occur? Families are often allowed to stay 48 hours post vaginal delivery, and 4 days post c-section.
  40. What follow-up support do you offer for new parents? Can I call, at any time, if I have questions or need emotional support?
What question or questions would you ask on a tour?

30 comments:

  1. Gerat job Mary, I wish I had a thorough list like this when I was having my babies. This is a wonderful resource :)

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  2. Beautiful list, Mary! SO many things I wish I'd thought of before we chose W&I.

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  4. That is an excellent question!! What a wonderful experience you were able to be a part of :)

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  5. These are GREAT questions!!! I went in a little clueless. Nice you are so prepared!

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  6. We did our tours around 12-16 weeks and I really wish I had this list! Maybe I'll go back to Kent and ask some of these questions. I'm pretty curious how they do fetal monitoring, what positions they allow laboring in, how they feel about natural birth as well as what options they have for pain medication. Can you share any of your responses?

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    1. Hi Lauren, So sorry I didn't get to see this until now! Did you end up going back to Kent to ask?

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  7. Excellent resource, I used this on my tour and was able to weed out the hospital that was fancier for one that had the best answers to these questions.

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    1. DivaDivine - you honestly just made my day :) I'm so happy to hear that this list was able to help you! I ended up making the same decision as you after I asked all of these questions. It's amazing how you are able to learn more about yourself and your birthing style when you ask these questions out loud :)

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  8. I have a tour today and am printing this out in preparation for it. Thank you so much for posting it! Warm hugs :)

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    1. Catherine - thank you for posting this. Was it helpful? When are you do? So incredibly excited for you and happy that it was used.

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  9. It's a blessing from above that I stumbled across this. I can't wait to read all your reviews. We just moved to RI one month ago and this is JUST what I needed. Thank you in advance for all your hard work putting this together to help other moms.

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    1. Welcome to the Ocean State Cassandra!! One of my biggest recommendations to you is to join the RI New Moms Connection. It was a godsend for me ;)

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  10. We used your list today. It was wonderful. We felt secure and prepared. The guide said she hasn't had so many questions in years and was excited to answer them all. Thank you so much for this resource and taking the time to create it.

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    1. So unbelievably happy that this list was useful to you!!!

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  11. Thank you for creating this! Was searching around for a list for my tours coming in the Boston area. I wasn't expecting such a thorough list so thank you!

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    1. I'm so incredibly happy that this was useful to you!! Let me know how the tours go :)

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  13. Thank you for the questions! I would add, "How does the hospital honor my birth plan? What policies does the hospital have in place if I refuse a test/procedure?"

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  14. great questions to ask!!!! thanks not sure what to ask before reading this!!!!!!!

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  15. Wonderful list!
    I would add one question: Is there a full time laborist in the hospital?
    A full time hospital employed laborist can make all the difference when one's doctor is away doing a C-section or needs to prioritize someone else. It can be extremely hard and disappointing when one is very close to being able to push, but has to hold back to baby for 1-1.5 hours... :(

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    1. EXCELLENT question Joy!!
      Perhaps having a laborist present would have prevented the permanent nerve damage an Alabaman woman endured after being restricted from birthing while waiting for the doctor.

      The couple sued and just last month received $16 million in damages and compensation. Sad that it had to come to that, but at least there has been precedent set for holding the hospital staff accountable for what they advertise and what they do.

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    2. I would alter question #14. Instead of "What positions do you allow mothers to give birth?" That seems to relinquish all authority over the mother's body over to the hospital staff.

      However, wording the question this way: "Do you restrict the birthing positions in which a laboring mother would feel is most natural / comfortable to her?"
      reinforces to the mother and those around her that she has the right to choose.

      Delete
    3. I would alter question #14. Instead of "What positions do you allow mothers to give birth?" That seems to relinquish all authority over the mother's body over to the hospital staff.

      However, wording the question this way: "Do you restrict the birthing positions in which a laboring mother would feel is most natural / comfortable to her?"
      reinforces to the mother and those around her that she has the right to choose.

      Delete
    4. EXCELLENT question Joy!!
      Perhaps having a laborist present would have prevented the permanent nerve damage an Alabaman woman endured after being restricted from birthing while waiting for the doctor.

      The couple sued and just last month received $16 million in damages and compensation. Sad that it had to come to that, but at least there has been precedent set for holding the hospital staff accountable for what they advertise and what they do.

      Delete
  16. I'm feeling super confused about whether I am supposed to pick the hospital or ob first! Any advice on that? I don't have a regular ob, and havent picked one yet because many only deliver at one hospital. But when I tried to book a tour of a hospital recently, they told me to go through my ob!! I feel overwhelmed and confused.

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  17. Hi Mary,
    I think you covered it all! I'm a Registered Nurse and manager of ICU and Progressive Care step down. When I was pregnant I still needed to attend childbirth classes and tour the hospital. It's crazy, but I kept my nurse status quiet so that I could ask a lot of the above questions as an expecting mom and soon to be patient. Mother-Baby was a whole new world for me. I encourage patients in any kind of unit to ask lots of questions!!

    Thanks,
    Christine
    RN2YOU.com

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