When you’re expecting a baby, you face almost endless decisions — one of the most important being place of delivery. If you’re like more than 98% of American women, you’re planning to give birth in a hospital. So how do you choose which one? What are the factors that make a big difference in your experience? As you’re weighing the pros and cons of the facilities near you, here are some key questions to ask yourself:
How far will you have to drive?
While you may have plenty of time to get to the hospital once you’re in labor, there are no guarantees. Should you find yourself in a situation where labor’s moving faster than you expected or there’s a pregnancy complication that needs urgent attention, you’ll be glad to have a hospital that’s an easy drive from you.
What’s covered by your insurance?
Find out exactly what services, providers and locations your insurance company covers. This can help you avoid an unnecessarily hefty bill at the end of your birth experience.
Will your birth plan be honored?
Whether you’re planning to give birth naturally or are concerned about good options for pain relief, find out what each hospital provides. The best location for you will honor your desires and have supportive resources available to help you have a positive birth experience.
What amenities are available?
Giving birth is a big deal, and anything that helps make you more comfortable matters. Some hospitals will offer birth balls, peanut balls, tubs, squat bars, lactation consultants and/or other special features; others won’t. Ask about what the facility has available to women in labor.
Likewise, ask about policies on skin-to-skin after birth and the level of privacy in delivery/postpartum rooms. Take an in-person tour and get a sense of what your experience would be like at each place. If you’re on the fence between two or a few facilities, knowing what each one offers can help you decide.
What kind of neonatal care is available?
Should you have a baby born prematurely, being able to be at a hospital with a special care nursery becomes vital. For the best care, look for a hospital where there’s a dedicated team of neonatologists and nurses, as well as a staff that helps parents and caregivers visit and bond with premature infants.
What’s hospital security like?
No one likes to think about something happening to a new baby in the hospital, but protecting your child starts with picking a hospital where security matters. Today, you should expect to find a good infant security system in hospitals that prioritize child protection. Find out what procedures are in place to protect infants, as well as hospital visitation rules.
Are there policies in place to protect your health?
As another protective measure, you’ll want to know how each hospital treats pathogen exposure. The last thing you want is to come home from birth having picked up a new illness — or worse, to know your newborn has.
What pre- and postnatal care is available?
Before your baby comes, you might like to take pregnancy health and wellness classes or prenatal classes such as infant CPR. Likewise, after your little one arrives, a hospital that offers a pelvic floor therapy program and/or private breastfeeding consultations can be a big benefit.
Like so much of pregnancy, picking the right hospital is a personal decision. To choose the right facility for you, research the different options and what each one offers. By comparing what’s available with what’s important to you, you can rest easy that you’ve chosen the location that you’ll feel good about when delivery day comes.
For more information about choosing a maternity hospital, take a look at the attached resource.
Author bio: Meredith McRoberts is Chief Executive Officer and the fifth-generation owner of McRoberts Corporation. She is a respected innovator and leader in the security industry. McRoberts established McRoberts Technologies to address specific security risks through the use of leading-edge technology and unmatched customer service. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder.