Three reasons to tour your hospital before giving birth
March 19, 2014
I know, I know. One more thing to add to the list of many things to do before baby arrives. But doing a quick (usually 30-60 minute) tour of your hospital's maternity center is a really good idea. Plan to schedule a tour around 34-36 weeks. You don't want to be too far along, but you also don't want to do it so early that you can't remember where to park once you go into labor.
If possible, you and your partner (or support person) should plan to attend the tour. You'll both learn a lot, and most importantly, you'll feel more comfortable in the hospital setting once you arrive.
Here are a few reasons to take a tour:
Logistics. Learn where to park, how to enter the hospital, and how to find labor and delivery. Trust me that you don't want to be wandering the halls when you're 7 centimeters dilated. You'll also learn about visiting hours, sibling policies, and security.
Your birth plan. Chances are, you've probably already discussed your wishes with your doctor or midwife. But go ahead and ask about some of these items during the tour. If there are any discrepancies, make sure you discuss them at your next prenatal appointment. For example:
Are there birth balls available?
Is there a birthing tub?
Are there showers in all of the rooms?
What support do you provide for breastfeeding moms?
Do you allow for immediate skin-to-skin contact?
3. Familiarity. As you know, I’m a big fan of preparation. When you are familiar with your hospital it’s one less thing to stress about. You’ll also be more comfortable when you arrive knowing that you’ll be in triage, labor and delivery, then a private postpartum room. (Most likely scenario.)
That’s it! What did you learn on your hospital tour that was helpful or surprising?