Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Delivery Hospital or Birthing Facility

New mothers have many choices to make when it comes to determining the best hospital for labor and delivery. It’s a personal decision and one that is unique to every expecting mother. Some birthing facilities specialize in different birthing methods or offer unique benefits, so it’s important to ask the necessary questions to find the best fit for your situation. Here are 7 things you should look for in your birthing center and hospital to help you through pregnancy, delivery and beyond.

Before You Decide on a Birthing Center, Choose Your Obstetrician

During the months that you’ll be getting regular checkups and consultations, you want to make sure you get along well with your obstetrician (OB) and you’re comfortable asking them questions. All doctors must have admitting privileges to facilities, meaning you will need to make sure your current OB is affiliated with a hospital you like or has access to the birthing facility of your choosing. Otherwise, you can choose a hospital for labor and delivery that does offer what you need and choose an obstetrician there.

What is a birthing center?

A birthing facility is fully equipped to assist new mothers through pregnancy, delivery and recovery. The Greater Regional Birthing Center is staffed by specialized nurses and highly trained physicians. Our obstetricians use state-of-the-art equipment, up-to-date pain management practices, current birthing techniques and offer family training to make sure you are comfortable and ready to enter the world of parenting.

How to Choose a Hospital for Labor and Delivery: 7 Things to Consider

1. Does my birthing facility offer ongoing classes & support?

When you’re pregnant for the first time, anxiety and uncertainty can sneak up on you. Having someone to guide you through those moments and provide answers to all the questions you might be afraid to ask others, is crucial for your peace of mind. Look for a birthing center that offers birthing classes, labor and delivery education, breastfeeding support and even sibling classes for those that are not first-time moms.

At Greater Regional Health, our Baby Boot Camp training helps prepare new mothers with everything they need to know about labor, delivery, breastfeeding and caring for both the mom and baby. Our Sibling Classes teach soon-to-be big brothers and sisters what types of tasks they can help out with and build anticipation as they wait for the arrival of their new little brother or sister. This supports not only the new parents, but the entire family!

2. Does the hospital I choose for labor and delivery have specialized physicians, nurses and counselors available?

Nothing is more important than the health and safety of both the mom and baby when it comes to choosing your delivery hospital. It’s important to have the proper care during this exciting time. While you are touring birthing facilities, discuss the different types of specialized physicians and nurses that should be on staff for the delivery, and ask about the pain management your birthing facility provides so there are no surprises down the road. Our birthing center offers a range from breathing and positioning techniques to epidurals by our specialized CRNA team.

Additionally, you should ask your future birthing center if they have lactation consultants available. This support is important for both first-time and veteran mothers. Because each baby is unique when it comes to feeding, having trained staff available to coach you through some of the nuances will help things go smoothly for you and your new child. All of our nurses at Greater Regional are trained in breast feeding care to help all babies get a good start.

3. How is the birthing facility equipped for high-risk pregnancies?

No one wants to think about their pregnancy becoming high-risk, but it’s best to be prepared when choosing a delivery hospital. This is a great time to request more information about how close the surgery unit is to the birthing center in case of an emergency C-section. In the case that you would need to be transported to the surgery center, you’ll want to make sure it’s a quick and smooth transition. At Greater Regional Health, our surgery center is just around the corner for any situation that arises during delivery.

Before you decide the best hospital for your labor and delivery, ask about the steps they have in place to support mothers in case of an emergency. If your baby is born premature, do they have the tools and capabilities to care for an infant that needs more attention? If not, check how close the nearest neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is to your birthing facility.

4. Will you and your family be comfortable in the labor, delivery and recovery patient rooms?

Your surroundings can impact how comfortable you are during your birthing process. Spend some time touring your different birthing center options and assessing how you feel in them. If you’d like multiple people to be there for you, it’s important to verify friends and family are allowed in the delivery room during labor. Most importantly, make sure you are comfortable with the rooms you’ll be in to ensure the best recovery possible after delivery.

Ask what accommodations you can expect for your partner and if there’s space for family bonding. Having your family there to support you and visit the baby can be an important part of the process. At Greater Regional Health, we encourage families to be there for this momentous occasion, but we also have confidentiality rules in place. During labor and delivery, the nursing staff is not able to inform your friends or relatives of your labor progress or delivery. However, your support person is allowed to forward on information.

5. When are visiting hours?

You know everyone is going to want to come see your new bundle of joy, so be sure to ask when family and friends are allowed to visit following the delivery. It’s also important to review the birthing center policies to promote safety and prevent infection.

New mothers and newborn babies at Greater Regional Health can welcome visitors between 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. The only exception is that we ask all visitors to wait two hours after the birth of a newborn so the parents can use that time to start bonding with their baby. Additionally, anyone who is not feeling well, could have a contagious disease or has a fever is asked to visit at a later time to protect the health of the mom and baby.

6. Is my birthing center near my home?

Take the travel distance from your home into consideration when you choose a hospital for labor and delivery. This process can sometimes move along quickly, so it’s important to find a birthing center near you. Greater Regional Birthing Center is a superior choice for local families in the Southwest Iowa area.

7. Does my birthing facility support my childbirth philosophy?

Some hospitals are more supportive of natural childbirth, but nowadays, there are quite a few options. Once you’ve chosen the method you believe is best for your situation, be sure to discuss your ideal birthing process with your obstetrician to ensure you choose a hospital for labor and delivery that will support and be prepared for the type of birth plan you have.

Greater Regional Health is a Birthing Center Near You Prepared To Support You

Our trained and dedicated staff is ready to be there every step of the way through pregnancy, delivery and recovery. We offer a personal experience that not all large hospitals for labor and delivery can achieve, and still provide top quality care with our advanced technology options. As you go through this journey throughout your pregnancy and beyond, choose a birthing facility like Greater Regional Health Center that can be there to support you and give you the best care you need.