Many pregnant women don’t think about touring the hospital that they are planning to deliver at; especially, a mom who has given birth before. When I was pregnant with my first child, I would have never thought about taking a tour at the hospital. I took a Lamaze class when I was pregnant with my daughter and as a class we took a tour of the labor and delivery ward and learned about the hospitals procedures.
I remember with my third pregnancy, I thought that because I was a seasoned mom that I really didn’t need take a tour at the hospital. However, I changed my mind and scheduled a tour, mostly because I wanted to learn about delivery options. I am glad that I did because it gave me an opportunity to learn more about the labor and delivery unit. I had a birth plan already mapped out in my mind, even though I didn’t write down my requests, I knew how I would like to labor.
Touring the hospital can give you the peace of mind that you choose the right hospital to deliver your child at. Also, it gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the hospital so that when you come while in pain you will know where to go and what to expect.
What I learned during my hospital tour:
- For my class, we met in the lobby of the hospital and the instructor went over some basic information about where we should go depending on the time of day. Many hospitals limit the way that people can gain access to the hospital after normal hospital visiting hours. As most mom’s know, you can go into labor at any time. After hours, most hospitals require pregnant women to enter through the emergency room department. Then the ER will allow you to go up to the Labor and Delivery Ward.
- If you have ever been to the hospital, there are usually several parking lots available to park your car in. The last thing you want to have happen while giving birth, is to have your car get towed because you parked in the wrong spot or parking lot. Some hospitals offer valet parking during certain hours and even front door parking for dad’s to be; however, there are rules that you must know in order to access these special services.
- During the tour, we were taken upstairs to the labor and delivery ward. The room that we were shown, had several different options for laboring moms. The tour guide explained that there were different options depending on the room you were assigned too. Some rooms had a bathtub to labor in, while other’s only had a shower.
- The labor and delivery ward seemed flexible and they will work with your doctors orders. They allow you to work with your doctor to determine if you are able to use reduced fetal monitoring, labor in the bathtub, walk the hallls, ect.
- If you have a natural delivery, you labor, deliver, and recover in the same room. After your recovery period, the hospital I was at moved you to another room in the postpartum wing. Some hospitals keep you in the same room during your entire hospital stay, just depends on your hospitals policies.
- During the tour, I was shown where the NICU, Lactation Consultants office, and operating room in the event I had to have a C-Section.
- They also give you an opportunity to ask questions about medications, epidurals, birthing options not covered during the tour, visitor hours and policies, sibling policies, and anything else that you can think of.
If you are planning to tour the hospital, you should plan to do it around 30-32 weeks. This way you are prepared in the event of an emergency or if you go into pre-term labor. After you tour the hospital, you can work with your doctor or midwife to created your birthing plan.
Items That are Helpful to Make Labor Easier