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My son had his first birthday a few days ago and my birth experience has been on my mind. As a first time mom it was terrifying to me to think that I wouldn’t get what I needed or have the experience I wanted if I didn’t advocate for myself, my husband, and my son. Therefore, I have written out a list of questions that I asked when touring the maternity ward prior to delivery as well as questions I wish I would have asked. I hope that you find these questions helpful!
What to ask when you tour the maternity ward
- Can the support person follow the baby if they need to leave the room?
- What kind of NICU does this hospital have? At what point would the baby need to be transported to a different hospital? (Be sure you are comfortable with the level of care they can give your baby before they have to be transported to a different hospital.)
- Can the baby stay with mom 24/7?
- How many people are allowed in the recovery room?
- Are there certain visiting hours? When are they?
- What times do inductions usually occur?
- Will they let you control your own meds (anxiety/depression meds, supplements, insulin, etc)?
- Can outside food be brought in?
- What kind of snack foods does the hospital have?
C-Section specific questions:
- Make it known if you want to have the baby with you as soon as possible following surgery and would like them to stay in my room during the stay.
- Can we take pictures in the OR?
- Can other people other than the spouse can be in the operating room?
- How soon can we get the baby after the c section?
- What is the typical stay for a c section?
- What times do you usually schedule c sections?
Vaginal delivery specific questions:
- What is the typical stay for a vaginal delivery?
- How many people are allowed to be in the delivery room?
- Deliver at a hospital that has a good NICU. Odds are your baby won’t need any NICU time but if they do, better to be safe than sorry. After only spending ten minutes with my baby his first two days of life I will always suggest delivering at a hospital the has at least a level 2 NICU nursery.
- Utilize the resources offered such as a lactation consultant.
- Make sure that you are working to get colostrum and milk within the first two to three hours of your baby being born. They need the colostrum no matter how much you can get out. It has all the nutrients they need for their first couple days of life.
- Get a breast pump while you are in hospital. This will ensure that you have one less thing to worry about once you get home.
- Take advantage of freebies from the hospital – ie get pacifiers from them if baby likes them, stock up on postpartum stuff that helped you in the hospital (I was able to take home 3 extra pairs of the comfy postpartum underwear the hospital has), see if you can take extra diapers home that aren’t used for baby while there.
- If you don’t like needles, ask the nurse taking your blood or placing the IV if they are good at it. This benefited me when I was getting my IV. It was a lot less painful than I expected.
- If you are having a boy, do you want to have him circumcised? If so, make sure to find out who will take care of that and when.
- Take a birthing class. We did an online one through American Fork Hospital and it was helpful!
- Take comfy, loose clothes to be in after the delivery. Your body will be sore and will thank you for keeping things comfortable. Unfortunately, your pre-pregnancy clothes will most likely not fit you before you head home so plan on taking clothes that fit when you were 6-7 months pregnant.
- Make sure you pack a going home outfit for your baby!
- Pack snacks if your chosen hospital doesn’t provide any.
- Make sure your support person has what they need to stay at the hospital with you. Things such as, clothes, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush/comb, etc.
- Make sure your OB, Midwife, etc. are supportive of the way you want your birth to go. If you want a natural birth, let them know. If you want an epidural once you are dilated to a certain point, let them know. They are there for you.
- Make sure the person you want delivering your baby has rights to deliver at your hospital of choice.
- Make sure the hospital is also contracting with your insurance at least three to four months before delivering.
- Don’t be afraid to take the hospital’s offer of watching your baby so that you can get some uninterrupted sleep. If you want they will bring you your baby when it’s time to feed.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and stick up for yourself. Make the nurses and doctors aware of what you need and want. I had a great hospital stay because I advocated for myself.
What other tips or questions do you have that I haven’t listed? Put it in the comments below!