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How to Tour a Hospital or Birthing Center During Pregnancy
If you are expecting a new baby, you may want to tour your hospital or birthing center in advance of delivery.
This can help to ease some of the stress associated with delivery.
For instance, you will know exactly where to go on the day and you will have a better understanding of what to expect.
It will also give you the opportunity to meet some of the staff.
In order to tour a hospital or birthing center, you will need make arrangements for the tour, take the tour, and then assess the facilities.
Making Arrangements to Tour a Hospital or Birthing Center
Schedule a tour when you are 32 to 36 weeks pregnant.
It is recommended that you tour a hospital when you are between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant.
This will help you familiarize yourself with the hospital environment a few weeks before delivery.
Everything will be fresh in your mind.
If you are traveling to the hospital from out of town or have not yet decided where you will give birth, you may want to consider visiting the facilities earlier in the pregnancy.
Reserve a spot on an upcoming tour.
Call the hospital or check the hospital website to find out when hospital or birthing center tours are offered.
Some hospitals only offer limited tour times.
As a result, these can book up fast, so it is a good idea to plan this well in advance.
Once you have found a time that works for you, register and reserve a spot on an upcoming tour.
Typically these tours are provided free of charge and they can take anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour.
You can also ask to see if the hospital will schedule a private tour.
Consider taking a virtual tour.
Some hospitals will provide virtual tours of the maternity ward, delivery rooms, and postpartum rooms.
This is an excellent option if you live far away from the hospital or you are still deciding where you want to give birth.
Virtual tours often consist of videos that show you where you should go on the day of delivery and explain what to expect.
If possible, you should try and schedule an in-person tour.
Plan how to get to the hospital.
One of the benefits of taking a tour is that you will get an opportunity to plan your route to the hospital or birthing center.
On the day of delivery you may be stressed.
The more prepared you are the less stressed you will be.
Map out a route to the hospital and use your tour date as a practice run.
Use the GPS function on your phone or vehicle to direct you to the hospital.
Program this address into your GPS so that you can easily access the directions on the day of the delivery.
Taking a Hospital or Birthing Center Tour
Find out where to park and enter the hospital for delivery.
A hospital tour should provide you with a number of details regarding the delivery.
This includes where to park and how to enter the hospital.
For example, your baby may decide to come in the middle of the night and there may not be as many hospital staff available to help.
Ask the tour facilitator “where is the best place to park and what hospital entrance should we use?”
See the triage room.
During the tour, you should expect to see all of the rooms that you will be using during your stay.
Typically, when you first arrive at the hospital you will be assessed and evaluated in a triage room before being admitted to the delivery rooms.
A nurse will monitor your labour signs and notify the doctor when delivery is imminent.
Tour a birthing room.
This is the area where you will give birth.
You may want to ask how many people are allowed in the birthing room with you and if pictures and videos are allowed during the delivery process.
For example you could ask “Can we film the birth of our child?” or “Can my mom and partner accompany me during delivery?”
In some instances, you may not be able to enter the birthing room during a tour if it is already occupied.
Look at the postpartum rooms.
Next, you will be toured through the postpartum rooms.
This is where you and the baby will stay after delivery.
If the hospital offers private and semi-private rooms, you should ask to see both rooms.
For example, you could say: “Do you offer private postpartum rooms?” and “Would we be able to tour them as well?”
Some insurance companies will cover private rooms.
Check to see if you are eligible to stay in a private room.
Assessing the Hospital or Birthing Center
Prepare questions in advance.
You may find that you are overwhelmed on the day of the tour.
You will be learning lots of information about your deliver and as a result you may forget to ask a few important questions.
Write a list of questions in advance.
This way you can quickly refer to the list to make sure everything you need to know has been answered.
- Consider asking the following questions:
- What birthing aids are available?
- What pain management is available?
- Can a family member stay overnight with me?
- Will the baby stay in my room?
- Will breastfeeding classes and resources be offered?
- What are the visiting hours?
Assess the staff.
A hospital or delivery room tour will give you an opportunity to meet some of the staff prior to your delivery.
Assess whether or not the staff are friendly and welcoming.
You want to feel comfortable, cared for, and supported throughout your stay.
For example, notice how the doctors and nurses interact with you while on the tour.
Do they seem enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and friendly?
If you visited a number of different hospitals and birthing centers, you should make notes on each one.
Then, assess the pros and cons and make a decision that fits the needs of your family.
For example, would your family prioritize location over length of visiting hours? In that case you may choose the closest hospital, even though they have limited visiting hours.
Alternatively, you may really want a private room and choose a hospital solely based on the facilities.
Talk about the facilities with your partner.
Once you have toured the hospital or birthing center, you should talk with your partner about the facilities.
Discuss the aspects you liked and didn’t like.
For example, you may have liked the postpartum rooms and visiting hours at one hospital, but the staff at another hospital.
Decide together which facility best meets your needs.