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How do I choose a hospital?
Q: I need to decide where I want to have my baby. What questions should I ask when I tour hospitals?
A: If you are lucky enough to have a choice of hospitals, choose the one that supports your ideas about labor and delivery. Make sure that your doctor or midwife has permission to deliver at this facility.

Here are some questions to ask to help you make your choice:

1) How many family/friends may be in my labor room?

2) Do you promote natural childbirth? Will I deliver in the same room that I labor in?

3) Do you have a shower or a tub I can use when I'm in labor?

4) Do you require special procedures for laboring women, such as intravenous lines or electronic fetal monitoring?

5) If I need a Caesarean section, who can come into the operating room with me? How soon will I be able to start nursing after the operation?

6) Do you have an anesthesiologist on call 24 hours a day for labor and delivery? Does the anesthesiologist stay in the hospital or take calls from home?

7) How do you promote breastfeeding in the hospital? Do you have a lactation consultant on staff if I have difficulties with nursing?

8) Will I have a private room after the baby is born? Can my husband stay overnight with me? Will the baby be able to stay in my room?

9) Do you have a high-risk nursery? If my baby is born prematurely or has special problems, is this hospital capable of caring for the baby or will he or she be transferred to another hospital?

When you tour the hospitals, notice if the hospital staff seems warm and friendly. While the physical appearance may make one hospital initially seem more attractive, answers to the above questions are more important criteria to use in making your decision.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist