As the expected birth date nears, certain things cannot be pushed back any longer. Think about what kind of labor and delivery experience you want. Make a list of what is essential to you when it comes to B-day. Compare your contenders:

Health Insurance

  • Are the hospital and maternity ward of your choosing covered by your insurance? Make sure your ob-gyn is affiliated with a maternity hospital you like. Does it have adequate conditions to assist you according to your needs and expectations for the birth you want? These are crucial questions to ask yourself.

Visit the place and ask about everything you can think of

  • Visit the hospital and maternity ward and see all the details for yourself way ahead of the birth date, including the facilities available to you. It’s good to know, for example, the environment in which the birth actually happens: is it in the maternity ward itself, in a private room, or a specialized room for the delivery? Some maternity hospitals have rooms prepared for humanized births, with a bathtub and a stool. Make sure they have what you want.

Travel distance from your home and route options

  • If you live in an urban area, check out the different ways you can get to the hospital, including during rush hour and heavy traffic. Will it work if you go into labor on a Friday at 5 pm?

Listen to your friends

  • Listening to friends who have given birth in the same place and what their opinions help give you an idea, but don’t allow yourself to be 100% influenced by their advice. Whether positive or negative, their personal accounts cannot be repeated in your story.

What are the hospital rules? 

  • Some maternity hospitals have policies that dictate how many people can be in the room while you’re in labor. Check to see if they allow the baby to stay inside the hospital room with the mother – instead of staying in the nursery if you want to be your baby at all times.  In case you’re planning on having a doula accompanying you during the entire process – pre, birth and postpartum – ask if it’s allowed.

What happens in case of an emergency?

  • Ask if the births are usually monitored and followed by a pediatrician, and if the hospital has the proper equipment to support any newborn emergencies. Ask about their c-section decision-making process – some hospitals don’t prioritize vaginal birth.

Read Next

+ Inside the nursery

+ Preparing your maternity bag

+ Pregnancy-specific classes and courses