Before our first baby was born my husband and I took a maternity hospital tour to see where we would be staying and where our baby would be born. It was really helpful in preparing me for our son’s birth. Our second son was born in a different hospital in a different state, so even though he was our third baby and I had a pretty good idea about what to expect, I still went and did another hospital tour.
Taking a hospital tour gives you a chance to ask any questions you might have about what the hospital offers, what they allow, and what childbirth there is like. It’s a good idea for any mother who will be delivering there for the first time. If you’re not sure what kinds of questions to ask on your hospital tour, here are some that you might want to know. Keep in mind that a lot of these will be answered by your tour guide (usually a L&D nurse), and some of them may not apply to you.
Can I wear my own hospital gown?
Can I have a photographer take photos during the birth?
Can I have a photographer take photos after the birth?
Can I have a photographer take photos if I have to have a C-section?
What kind of pain management options do you have available (epidural, spinal block, tub, IV, local anesthesia)?
Can my doula attend the birth?
Does the hospital support natural births?
What kind of birthing tools are available (tub, shower, birth ball, squat bar, birthing stool)?
How many rooms are on the labor and delivery floor?
Where is the best place to park when I arrive?
Where do I go when I arrive?
What do I need to bring?
Can I preregister?
Are the delivery rooms private or are they shared?
Are the recovery rooms private or are they shared?
Are the rooms all the same size and have the same features?
What happens if the labor and delivery floor is full and I am in active labor?
Is this a teaching hospital?
Will students or residents attend the birth?
Are meals provided for me after birth?
Are meals provided for the father after the birth?
Can the father sleep at the hospital?
Is there a nursery for the baby to go to at night?
Where is the nursery?
Where is the NICU?
What kind of fetal and maternal monitoring is used?
How often do you do pelvic exams during labor?
Can I have music?
Is there a speaker in the room or do I need to bring my own?
How many people are allowed in the delivery room?
What positions to do you allow mothers to give birth in (stirrups on back, in tub, on all fours, sitting up, squatting)?
Can we do skin-to-skin right after the baby is born and delay procedures and weighing?
Can I breastfeed immediately after delivery?
What kind of breastfeeding support is available?
Do you give pacifiers to babies in the nursery?
Do you give formula to babies in the nursery?
What kind of security measures do you have in place?
When are visiting hours?
Can children come visit?
How long do moms typically stay after birth?
Where will I be initially examined upon arriving (own room or triage)?
Can I walk around during labor?
Can I labor in the shower or tub?
Will I be moved to a room postpartum or stay in the same room?
Are there televisions?
Are there DVD players?
Is there wi-fi?
Can my husband (or baby’s father) cut the cord?
Is there a private shower in the recovery room?
What is the hospital’s C-section rate?
What happens if I need an emergency C-section?
Is there a hospital cafeteria? Is it open 24 hours?
Can I eat or drink during labor?
I know that’s a lot of questions, but your tour guide will answer a lot of them before you even ask them, and some questions might not apply to you. Taking a hospital tour when you’re pregnant is incredibly helpful, and will make you feel so much more comfortable when it’s go time. And preparing questions to ask on your hospital tour before you go will help you get the most out of your tour! Good luck!