Labour And Delivery. 40 Questions To Ask, So You Truly Feel Prepared.

A happy pregnant woman stands over a crib.
  1. Are the labour rooms private or shared? If shared, is it possible to get a private room? Does it cost extra?
  2. Does the hospital or facility have lactation consultants on staff? What about breastfeeding classes for new moms?
  3. Will I be moved to a different room post-delivery? Is the room shared or private? If shared, is it possible to get a private room? Does it cost extra?
  4. What's the C-section rate at this facility?
  5. Are the C-section rates different from doctors to midwives?
  6. What's the rate of unmedicated, natural births at this hospital?
  7. What's the rate of various intervention procedures? (epidurals, narcotics, Pitocin, forceps and vacuums?)
  8. Outside of my family caregivers, who will be in the delivery room with me?
  9. Is this a teaching hospital? If so, are others allowed to watch the delivery? Can I opt out of that if I want to?
  10. How long is the average labour time for this facility?
  11. Will you honour my birth plan if I write one?
  12. What is this facility's policy regarding episiotomy?
  13. What happens if my baby is in distress and requires NICU attention? Will they be transferred to another facility?
  14. What kind of fetal monitors do you have? Am I expected to wear the fetal monitor the whole time?
  15. What is cord blood banking? Does the hospital have a facility for cord blood storage?
  16. Do you allow photography and videography during the birth?
  17. Does the hospital have a breast pump that first time moms use during their stay?
  18. Does the hospital supplement with formula?
  19. Are partners allowed to stay overnight with new moms?
  20. What are the visiting hours and policies once the baby is born? Are children allowed to visit?
  21. Do you have a minimum age or maximum number of visitors?
  22. How do I complete the paperwork to obtain my baby’s birth certificate?
  23. Is there any paperwork I can complete ahead of my delivery?
  24. What, if anything, needs to be done before the baby can be released for home? (eg. some hospitals require proof of a properly installed car seat.)
  25. Is there a set time for discharge?
  26. Can I eat and drink during labour?
  27. Will I be allowed to walk during labour? Will I be allowed to walk around the halls?
  28. Do you provide a birthing stool? What birthing tools do you have available (i.e. birth ball, stool, bar, etc)?
  29. Is there a place to shower and/or take a bath? Is that allowed?
  30. Can I give birth in the bath if I feel compelled to?
  31. What is an epidural? What are the side effects of having one? How long will I have to wait for an epidural?
  32. Can I wear my own dressing gown or pyjamas during labor?
  33. Is an IV required during labor? Is a hep-lock (keeps an IV bag up) an option?
  34. What happens in the event that I require a C-section? Will the room change? How many people will be allowed in?
  35. Do you have a time limit on how quickly labor must progress before interventions are required (ex. 1 cm per hour)?
  36. What are the standard procedures for newborns immediately following birth? Which ones can you opt out of?
  37. What are my choices when it comes to cutting the umbilical cord? Is delayed cutting an option? Who cuts it? Can my partner cut it?
  38. Will the baby be taken from me for cleaning and examination? If so, can I decide when?
  39. When does the baby receive their vitamin K shot and erythromycin eye ointment? Are these treatments mandatory?
  40. Is skin-to-skin contact immediately following the birth the norm?

Happy pushing!

Christine Musick

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