How to Choose the Right Hospital
Do you have babies on the brain? Here’s how to tell:
- You find yourself humming “Itsy Bitsy Spider” for no particular reason.
- You mysteriously end up in the baby clothes section of every store you enter.
- You coo over every baby you see, even those of complete strangers and on YouTube.
- You created a photo morph using pics of you and your partner to see what your baby would look like.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s a clear diagnosis: You have baby-itis. There is a cure, but it’s 40 weeks long and results in a lifetime of love and devotion. You should read Babies on the Brain? Before You’re Pregnant is the Perfect Time to Plan and then seek immediate medical attention.
Oh, but wait. Amid all the fun stuff like researching baby names and searching the web for baby decor, you may have forgotten to think about the practical stuff. Like finding a doctor and a hospital where you would like to give birth. Then again, does it really matter?
It does if you want to have choices about how you deliver, choices about your postpartum experience, choices about the level of care you and your baby would receive in an emergency, and many more. In fact, the Office on Women’s Health lists where you want to deliver as being one of the most important factors in choosing your OB. This is because places of birth (hospitals) and caregivers (doctors and medical staff) typically go hand in hand, so finding the right place to have your baby will lead you to the right doctor for you.
Most hospitals offer scheduled tours so you can actually see the amenities they offer and ask questions that you may have. This also helps you visualize where you’ll be welcoming the newest member of your family. Many people don’t realize the wide variety of choices that are now available, so taking a tour is a great way to start thinking about what type of birthing experience you want and where you can get it.
The type of hospital birthing experience you have is now within your control and you can help design one of the most memorable days of your life. It can now be as customized as you’d like, and the sooner you begin planning, the better it can be. Choices include hotel-worthy birthing suites, living room–like postpartum accommodations and meals on demand that will delight the most epicurean foodies, among others. You may want to ask whether the hospital you’re considering offers:
- Classes and support groups, like breastfeeding, yoga, new moms and daddy boot camp
- VIP/luxury suites with choice of delivery methods
- Option to keep baby in-room or in-nursery — or both
- Enhanced infant security
- Large, comfortable postpartum suites with beds for partners, room for guests, quiet time and flexible visiting hours
- Delivery choices including music, lighting, filming and photography and instant skin-to-skin contact
- Natural and pharmaceutical pain relief options
- Gourmet, celebratory meal and dine on demand for you and your partner
- Highest level (III and IV) Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) for greater peace of mind should you need it
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at this (incomplete) list of choices. This is another important reason to register for a hospital tour: It allows you to get to know some of the staff that will be taking care of you and your baby. These are the experts who can guide you in designing a birth plan that’s just right for you, and seeing their dedication and enthusiasm should help put you at ease and instill confidence in your choice of hospital.
And with the practical stuff well in hand, you can get right back to that baby name generator.
Laura DeSmeth is a digital marketing and social media director focused on health care, wife, mother, reader, writer, indie film and media fan – not necessarily in that order depending on the day of the week.