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Choosing a Hospital

Questions to ask before choosing a hospital or birth center as the venue for giving birth.

Not all hospitals or birth centers are equal.

The staff, their philosophy about birth and their approach to maternity care will have a profound effect on your experience of giving birth.

Hospital maternity nurse

It could be the blissful experience of your dreams or it could end up in yet another horror story.

You will ultimately be paying for the service you receive, not your caregiver, so make sure you investigate your options and find the venue that best suits your needs.

Don't wait until the last minute - start your investigation early in pregnancy to allow time to make any changes or arrangments you need to.

Phone the client services department and ask if they have tours of the maternity center or if they will allow you to visit and check it out.

  1. When you visit, find out if they are flexible and will respect your birth plan.
  2. Look at the birthing environment - is it sterile and clinical or does it have a relaxed homely feel?
  3. Ask about the kind of births that usually happen there? How much intervention is routine?
  4. What is their cesarean rate?
  5. Will they allow you to modify the environment with your own music, dim lighting, candles, pillows, birth ball etc.?
  6. How much freedom and privacy will you have in labor?
  7. What is their policy regarding fetal monitoring, IV's and positions for labor and birth?
  8. is there the option of using water (a bath or shower) for pain relief?
  9. How many birth companions will you be allowed?
  10. Do they encourage partner participation in the labor and birth or will he be a side-line spectator?
  11. What is the staff-patient ratio? How busy are they at any given time?
  12. What are their policies about procedures for your newborn - skin-to-skin, kangaroo mother care, bathing, breastfeeding, rooming-in etc?
  13. Who will be allowed to visit you and when are visiting hours?
  14. What security measures are in place?
  15. Do they offer private rooms, private bathrooms? Some birth centers can accommodate partners to sleep over.
  16. What are their costs?
  17. Do they encourage breastfeeding and have lactation consultants available?

It is possible to ensure the safe birth of a baby while respecting the powerful emotional and spiritual aspects of childbirth that a woman experiences.

More Pages Related to Choosing a Hospital

Natural Birth Options

Vaginal Birth in Hospital

Vaginal Birth Benefits

Cesarean Section

Home Birth

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