Should I visit the hospital before my labor day?
Yes. Most hospitals offer tours of the obstetrical floor at designated times, and it's a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity. In fact, if you're taking childbirth education classes at the hospital where you'll be giving birth, you'll probably get a tour at some point during the course.
The more familiar you are with your surroundings, the less intimidating labor will be. Going in for a tour will also give you a chance to plan your route (and even an alternate route) so you won't have to scramble for directions when you're having contractions.
See a delivery room and learn what to expect at the hospital.
What can I expect to learn from a hospital tour?
- Find out where to enter the hospital when you get there, where to park, and where to check in, especially if you arrive after hours.
- Unless the obstetric ward is completely full, you'll probably be able to view a typical combination labor and birth room and a postpartum recovery room. (If it's important to you to see the rooms, you can call ahead to see how busy things are and reschedule your tour for a less busy day, if necessary.) You'll also get to peek into the well-baby nursery.
- Ask the hospital what the chances are that you'll get a private room if you request one. Some insurance companies only pay for a private room if you have a compelling medical problem (such as a contagious disease), and you may be required to pay the difference between the cost of a private and a shared room.
You may already know the hospital's basic policies about things such as routine interventions, who can be with you during labor, whether breastfeeding support is available, rooming-in, and whether your partner can stay overnight with you and your baby. If you have any lingering questions, this is a good time to ask them.
You can also find out about smaller details that will affect your stay, such as whether you can use cell phones in the hospital, whether you can videotape the birth, and visiting hours for children, other family members, and friends.
Moms share tips on how they created a calm, soothing, and intimate delivery-room environment.
- Ask if you can preregister in the weeks before your delivery to get this red tape out of the way. You don't want to have to sign a bunch of releases and permissions forms when you're in labor, or have your partner whisked away to do so. One other thing to think about: If you're not married but would like your partner's name on the birth certificate, find out what (if any) paperwork you need to fill out for that.