Getting ready to have a baby for the first time can be exciting and overwhelming. Choosing a delivery hospital is essential to check off the to-do list. Pregnant women should consider the following factors when deciding where the baby will be born.
Will you be my doctor?
In most cases, choosing an OB/GYN means choosing a delivery hospital. The doctor seen for prenatal care will have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and the patient will be expected to deliver there. However, there is often no guarantee the selected OB/GYN will be available when the baby decides to arrive. Some hospitals use a call schedule, meaning all the doctors at the practice take turns covering shifts at the hospital. If this is the case, the on-call doctor will deliver the baby. In other cases, the selected OB/GYN may be available to come to the hospital when the patient goes into labor. Knowing what to expect can decrease stress and anxiety when labor starts.
Close to home
When the baby is ready to arrive, things can progress quickly. The physical location is a vital factor to consider when selecting a delivery hospital. Choosing a facility close to home is an excellent way to ensure the baby will be delivered at the hospital, not on the way there. Be sure to look into parking options ahead of time as well. Another logistical question worth figuring out before those contractions start is insurance coverage. Giving birth can be expensive, so patients will want to be sure the hospital accepts the health insurance plan. Usually, a billing department at the hospital will be able to confirm in-network coverage.
There are many reasons a pregnant patient might be considered high-risk. Having multiples, expecting a baby with a congenital disability, and being at risk for preterm labor are just a few examples. High-risk pregnancies often need specialized care and doctors trained to handle emergencies. Women with this label should ensure the hospital can handle the case ahead of time. If the baby will need higher level care after delivery, the patient will want to be sure the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is prepared to take on this challenge.
Planning for a C-section
No one plans to have a C-section, but sometimes this procedure is necessary. Approximately 31% of babies are delivered by Cesarean every year. In the event this happens, a patient should know what to expect. Who will perform the surgery, what type of anesthesia will be given, and how fast can the C-section be done? Women should also understand what to expect post-op. Most women who have a C-section will need to stay in the hospital for a few extra days, and stronger pain medication may be provided.
Ask the right questions
All delivery hospitals are equipped with the essential tools and knowledge to deliver a baby. However, personal preferences may ultimately play a role in deciding where to have the baby. Make sure the necessary questions are asked early on so a smooth process can commence once the baby is ready to debut.