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Postpartum - After Delivery

Questions to Ask a Hospital or Birth Center

When you are first pregnant, or before you even get pregnant, it might be a good idea to come up with a list of questions to ask a hospital or birth center to help you make your decision on where you choose to deliver your baby. These questions to ask a hospital or birth center should be lengthy and full of detail.

Giving birth is a big deal, and as a new mother you are going to want to make sure and ask your doctor or midwife at a hospital or birth center the questions about anything you have ever wondered about pregnancy and delivery. By consulting with both a doctor in a hospital or a midwife in a birth center, you can help make your own decisions on where you would like to give birth.  Making a list of these questions to ask a hospital or birth center is a great way to narrow down the pros and cons of delivering in a hospital, a hospital birth center or a free-standing birth center. There are so many options to choose from when considering how you would like to deliver your baby.

Questions to Ask a Hospital:

Hospitals throughout the United States have an average cesarean section rate of one in every three deliveries. There are many risks that come with delivering your baby C-Section. There are certain medical reasons that a mother would have to deliver this way, but in many cases the life-threatening situations come from too many doctor interventions like inducing labor before it is time. This is why it is a good idea to talk to your doctor, ob-gyn or hospital representative to clue you in on exactly how many cesarean births are done at the hospital. Because this rate has gotten so high throughout the U.S. many hospitals are looking for ways to cut back on the number of emergency surgeries to deliver babies. Perhaps the hospital you are considering is one that is taking that safer and more natural approach to child birth.

Many women opt for a hospital delivery because everything they need medically speaking is ready and available in case of an emergency including pain medication like an epidural. This is a good time to ask your ob-gyn about how they handle certain medical emergencies. If you are looking to go the natural birth route, ask your doctor how they handle those situations. It is also important to ask your doctor questions about their own practice during this interview. Find out how long they have been practicing obstetrics, where they went to school, certifications, stance on unnecessary non-medical C-Sections, inducing labor, etc. It is also a good idea to ask your doctor what you can expect to see out of your prenatal care as well as what your delivery will be like in the hospital.

Questions to Ask a Birth Center:

Many hospitals actually are beginning to include birthing centers in the actual hospital. This gives many mothers a better chance at an all-natural delivery. Some even include tubs to labor in before giving birth. However, many women opt to go with a free-standing birthing center for a few reasons. Usually a Certified Nurse Midwife will be the practitioner taking care of your prenatal and delivery needs. She/he is more likely to encourage neutral birthing without so many medical interventions. The upside of using a CNM is that you can still have some medical intervention of the situation arises like using Pitocin or a local anesthetic to help with tearing or hemorrhaging post delivery.

It is important to make sure your midwife is certified by the state. Don't be afraid to ask her about her track record in delivery and to find out how she handles medical emergencies. What about high risk pregnancy? Ask about cost and what your prenatal and delivery experience will be like. Many of the questions to ask a hospital or birth center are very much the same. However, some need to be specific to the facility since both a hospital and a birthing center take different approaches to birth. Some CNM and birthing centers do not have the ability to give an epidural, so if that is something you are interested in, it is important to ask when visiting the birthing center. Ask in what ways you will be able to delivery (ie. water birth, standing up, squatting, etc.) 

Printing out this list below is a great tool you can take to either of your hospital or birthing center consultation appointments to help you ask all the questions you need to ask before making this very important decision. 

Questions to Ask a Hospital or Birth Center:

  • What is your rate of C-Section deliveries?
  • Under what reasons will you induce labor?
  • How do you feel about a woman delivering naturally?
  • What will delivery be like?
  • What kind of prenatal care will I receive?
  • How do you handle high risk pregnancy?
  • For free-standing birth center, what kinds of accreditation and licensing do you have for your practice?
  • Do you offer classes or other support services?
  • Because many insurances don't cover free-standing birth centers, what is the price?
  • Under what situations do you transfer care to a hospital?
  • What kind of interventions may occur in a birth center birth?
  • What is postpartum care like for mother and newborn?

Feel free to add any additional questions, or get specific on your details when choosing which questions to ask a hospital or birth center. These are big decisions you are making for your own care as well as for that of your unborn baby. Be sure to ultimately go with the choice that suites your needs the best. 


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