As a first time mom I had no idea what to expect during labor so it made me feel more comfortable to take a tour of the labor and delivery unit at the hospital. However, since it was my first time around I wasn’t really sure what to ask. Looking back now there were several questions I wish I’d asked, so I wanted to share these questions with you first time moms (and second time moms like me) so you can be better prepared for the big day!
Most of these questions should be answered on your tour so you’ll know what to listen for but if not, you will be ready to ask away!
- Where do I go when in labor; where do we park and check in? If after hours, should we go to the ER or straight to Labor and Delivery?
Most times they will be expecting you because your doctor will call ahead but it never hurts to ask.
- What is the check-in procedure? Can I pre-register to get all of the paperwork out of the way?
The last thing you want to do is fill out paperwork in between contractions, so it will be helpful if a majority of the paperwork can done beforehand.
- Are there birth balls, squat bars, tubs and showers to use while in labor?
- What is your visitor policy during labor and delivery and after the baby is born? What is your policy for my other children to visit the baby?
When my son was born only two people were allowed in the labor and delivery room at a time. I was completely fine with this as I didn’t want it to be a family party in there, but my family was disappointed so it would have been great if I’d known ahead of time. After the birth the amount of visitors was unlimited once I was moved to my room.
- What is your fetal monitoring policy? Do you have wireless monitoring so I can move freely during labor?
As soon as I was admitted to the hospital they hooked me up to the fetal monitors immediately and from that point on I didn’t move much at all, and this was four hours before they gave me the epidural. You would think the nurses would encourage me to move around since it can help to progress labor!
- Can I control the lighting in the room and is there a CD player or iPod dock for music?
I’m planning on using HypnoBirthing techniques this time around so dim lighting and calming music (probably on my iPhone with headphones) is part of my plan to help me relax.
- What is the hospital’s policy on IVs? If I want a natural birth can I opt for a hep lock instead?
Since I’m a VBAC patient I am required to have a hep lock placed in case there is an emergency and I need anaesthesia. Sometimes they will give you an IV to keep you hydrated so make sure you drink a TON of water so you can avoid this because once the IV is placed it can get in the way.
- What is the hospital’s video and camera policy?
Our hospital allowed video cameras and cameras during labor but NOT during the actual delivery (due to lawsuits). My husband was able to turn the video camera on right after my son was born.
- What is your procedure after the baby is born? Can we do immediate skin-to-skin?
Many times the doctor or nurses will whisk your baby away even if the baby is healthy to do the initial pediatric exam, Apgar score and other procedures. Immediate skin-to-skin bonding with your newborn has countless benefits and that time with your baby is crucial. If they will not give you your baby immediately ask if most of the exam can be done later so you can have your baby in your arms within a few minutes after birth.
- What is your policy on formula and pacifiers especially if I want to exclusively breastfeed?
This is when it becomes necessary to have a birth plan because if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding you do not want them to give your baby formula and if you do not specify they might not ask.
- Will my baby be in the nursery for most of our stay or is it an option for the baby to be in the room with me?
Philip was in the room for 90% of the time for our five days at the hospital but every hospital is different so make sure you ask!
- If a C-section is needed, can my baby stay in the recovery room with me?
Luckily after I was moved to recovery the baby was with me and our nurse bathed him and brought him to me so I could attempt to breastfeed.
- If C-section is needed who is allowed in the operating room with me?
- Are breast pumps available if needed?
This was a big one for me because we didn’t even think to bring our pump to the hospital and I wasn’t offered one when I clearly needed it. It would have been a huge help!
- Are private rooms available? Are there accommodations for my husband to sleep in the room with me?
If you haven’t already done so, make sure to schedule your labor and delivery tour soon! Please comment below if you have any other good questions to add :).
I hope you have a great week!