Take a Tour of the Hospital
The best way to get a good idea of what your delivery day will be like is to take a tour of the hospital. Seeing the facilities beforehand will remove a lot of the mystery and help reduce any anxiety you may have about what will occur. You'll get to see one of the actual delivery rooms, and the hospital staff will explain the various monitors, equipment, and services. You'll become acquainted with the recovery procedures.
This is a great time to ask any questions about what is or is not allowed, and to meet some of the people who work in labor and delivery. The staff member giving the tour may not be able to answer all questions specific to your situation, but they will be able to address the hospital's standard policies. Talk to your doctor about any questions you still have.
Check the current tour schedule and pick a time that is convenient for you. Try to go at least a month in advance (because you never know when you'll go into labor!)
In addition, think about your birthing preferences before you go. That way, you can ask any questions that arise as you think through your birth options.
During the tour, be sure to ask about:
- Pre-registration and check-in procedures
- Suggestions for what to bring to the hospital
- Policies on walking around, eating, and drinking
- Access for the mother's "birthing coach" or other support people
- Visiting hours for family and friends
- Availability of neonatal intensive care facilities and trained staff
- Childbirth classes offered by the hospital (e.g., labor and delivery, baby care, first aid, breastfeeding)
- Security procedures (e.g., wristbands)
- Use of video cameras
- Pain relief options
- Check-out procedures
Remember that the hospital wants to make your delivery day as safe and comfortable as possible. Ask a lot of questions - the labor and delivery staff would like to do whatever it can to help you prepare for the big day!
Peter J. Chen, MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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